What a find!
While on the hunt for a different shipwreck, a group of divers happened upon mysterious undersea ruins that appear to be from a lost fleet of British warships.
As the scuba diving website Divernet reports, a United Kingdom-based volunteer dive team known as the Gasperados were looking for remnants of a private shipwreck off the coast of Cornwall, England when they encountered a strange and altogether unexpected wreck site.
After photographing the wreckage, which was nearly 100 meters down in the Celtic Sea, the Gasperados got in touch with an associate history professor at Plymouth University named Harry Bennett to see if he could help them figure out what they'd found.
The professor, Divernet reports, suggested that the wreckage may be one of the British Royal Navy's landing craft tanks (LCTs), some of which were sunken by a storm while being towed from the European theater to the Far East in anticipation of escalation in the Second World War's Pacific Theater.
Divers believe they have found one of six Royal Navy ships lost off Land’s End in #WW2.
The team came across the remains of what was possibly Landing Craft Tank 488, lost in a storm with 5 sister vessels - and 55 lives - under tow to Asia in Oct 1944.
— Royal Navy (@RoyalNavy) July 18, 2023
A Watery Grave
As Divernet reports, the vessels in the British Royal Navy’s 9th LCT Flotilla were being towed towards the Mediterranean Sea in October 1944 when massive winds began to overwhelm the carriers, which weren't built to withstand such conditions. More than 50 crew died, and six of the nine LCTs in the flotilla sank.
"The tragic story of the lost convoy of LCTs which this wreck brings to the fore is a brutal reminder that in the midst of war," Bennett told the website, "our mariners still had to contend with the old foes of unrelenting storms and the cruel sea to sometimes deadly effect."
While the official sinking position of LCT 488, the carrier that the professor believes the Gasperados found, is about 45 miles from where they found it, it's not uncommon, the report notes, for winds and waves to move lightweight vessels like these tank carriers around.
As Divernet notes, photos taken at the wreckage site suggest details consistent with other LCTs of the era, and although they can't be fully certain which of the lost tank carriers the Gasperados found, it's nevertheless very compelling evidence that they found something from the World War II era.
"The tragic story of the lost convoy of LCTs which this wreck brings to the fore is a brutal reminder that in the midst of war," Gasperados diver Steve Mortimer told the website, "our mariners still had to contend with the old foes of unrelenting storms and the cruel sea to sometimes deadly effect."
More on shipping strangeness: A Cruise Ship Pulled Up for a Beautiful View. Then Blood Started Turning the Water Red
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