Dieppe WrecksAF13 – German Coastal Patrol Boat There are 2 of these German patrol boats sunk between Dieppe and Fe’Camp, AF13 located in just 20mtrs of water, One is upside down and very broken, the other is on its side, her armaments buried in the sand and depth charges scattered around. They make interesting second dives. HMS Berkeley – The Royal Navy escort destroyer HMS Berkeley formed part of the attack force for the raid on Dieppe on the 19th August 1942 she was 272x28x8 and had 4x4”guns & 8 smaller guns. At approx 12.50pm HMS Berkeley received a direct hit from German aircraft bombs which broke her back and she sank with the loss of 15 lives.
Today she rests in 20mtrs of water and she is broken into 2 main sections which stand 4mtrs high in places.
HMS Daffodil - During World War Two, three train ferry ships (TF1, TF2 & TF3) which had been built during World War One were requisitioned by the Royal Navy. In 1940 TF1 and TF3 were renamed HMS Princess Iris & HMS Daffodil. They were renamed and named after the ex-Mersey ferries which were used in the famous World War One Zeebrugge raid.
In 1941 HMS Princess Iris and HMS Daffodil were converted into Landing Ship Sternchute (LSS) and used as locomotive transports. HMS Daffodil (ex- TF3) was lost off Dieppe on March 17th 1945 after striking a mine. HMS Princess Iris survived the war only to be broken up for scrap. The fait of TF2 was not so lucky, she was also sunk near Dieppe after coming under fire from German shore batteries and sank close to shore in only 15mtrs of water, today the wreck off TF2 is quite broken up.
HMS Daffodil is a big old wreck she was 107m long with a beam of 18m, she was powered by 2 6 cylinder triple expansion engines giving her a speed of 13knots. Today the wreck of HMS Daffodil wrests in only 24mtrs of water, she sits upright and is pretty intact giving good swim throughs wreck penetration. The marine life on her is superb with large shoals of Bass and Black Bream in the wreckage.
UJ1404/Franken- German Submarine Chaser
The German Submarine Chaser UJ1404 was sunk during the disastrous Dieppe Raid of August 1942.
Seen as a trial run to test the defences for the Normandie Landings in 1944 this raid ended with the massacre & capture of troops from the Canadian Regiments & British Commando Units.
The wreck of UJ1404 rests in 20mtrs water and is over to port by maybe 45degrees. She is quite broken with a gap between the main body of the ship and the bows. A large 88mm gun lays in the wreckage of the bow with munition scattered. As you move back towards the stern the bridge and superstructure is collapsed down & open in places. The boiler, engine, stearing gear & irn prop are all visable. There are depth charges in & around the stern.
This large merchantman some 232x36x14m was taken over by the German navy and used for escort duties.On the 11th of December 1942 she was attacked and sunk by British warships 8 miles to the north of Dieppe, there were only ten survivors from the sinking.
Today this wreck sits on an even keel with the bows being the highest point, she rests in only 25mtrs of water and is very intact, a large gun sits on the bow as if ready for action, with the magazine store below full of ammunition. As you work your way back along the wreck you can explore the large hold area which gives good access for penetration, before you get to the engine room and then on to the rear and the stern accommodation. Debris litters the seabed and on one of our visits, all around the stern were dozens of cuttle fish, a fabulous sight
The Beijerland was a Dutch cargo ship launched in 1939 near Rotterdam. She was nearly 200ft in length & had a beam of almost 30ft and she weighed in at 387 tons. She was powered by a large 12 cylinder engine producing 640 horse power.
The Beijerland was seized by the germans during the invasion of the Netherlands and converted into a armed merchantman & re-named Sperrbrecher 144.
The Sperrbrecher 144 now rests in less than 20mtrs of water and is quite broken open, her large diesel engine sits upright in the middle of the wreckage, as you move to the stern you come across one of her large deck guns with munitions scattered around. Her large rear stearing gear is openly visable and as you make your way back towards the bows you see masses of fish and sand eels all around. The seabed is a mixture of shell, shingle & white sand this gives great visability.
Yatagan – This is the wreck of a small French Destroyer, 185x21x9, She had a top speed of 26knots and her armaments consisted of 1x9 pdr gun, 6x3pdr guns & 2 Torpedo tubes.
She was lost due to a collision with the British steamship Teviot, north of Dieppe on December 3rd 1916, she carried a complement of 62 crew.
Today the wreck rests 33mtrs of water on her Port side, most of her plating has eroded exposing for all to see. Large piles of munitions lay scattered in the wreckage alongside her guns, 2 large prop shafts bend their way along the length of the wreckage and the marine life is amazing - click the ships name to watch the video.
4,035 gross tons, length 386.5ft x beam 41ft, one funnel, three masts, iron hull, single screw, speed 12 knots. Accommodation for 50-1st and 1,200-3rd class passengers. Built 1884 by Chantiers & Ateliers de la Gironde, Bordeaux for the Bordeaux Line, she started her maiden voyage from Bordeaux on 26th Feb.1884 but her rudder was disabled and she arrived at Halifax under tow by the Anchor Line ship CALEDONIA and eventually reached New York on 27th May. Her last Bordeaux - New York voyage was made in July 1888 and she was then chartered to the French Line for their Bordeaux - Havana - Vera Cruz service. On 28th Apr.1889 she was sunk in the English Channel in collision with British ship MANORA.
The Chateau Margaux lies 24miles north from Dieppe in 41mtrs at high water & rests on her starboard side, the bow and stern are the highest points with the middle of the ship collapsed down to the seabed but still quite open and exposing her 4 large boilers. The fish life on this wreck is incredible but strangely no congers The seabed is a fine white shingle shell giving good visability.
Braga 1938 – The Norwegian ship Braga built in 1938, she was 87mtrs long 13mtrs wide and had a draft of 6mtrs, departed Dieppe harbour on 7th Febuary 1961 and headed out to sea, but whilst she was leaving she struck the harbour wall and unbeknown to her, she had made a hole in her hull. The ingress of water must have been quite slow as she managed to get some 20 miles offshore before she sank.
This wreck today lies in 34mtrs of water at an angle of 45 degrees to her port side, still pretty together and ship shape you can access the accommodation areas and swim throughs.
SS Oifjeld - This Norwegian Steamship was built in 1912 she is 250ft long x 38ft beam. A 3 Cylinder Triple Expansion Engine sits exposed in the middle of the wreck with her 2 boilers side by side. This big wreck sits upright on an even keel, rudder & big iron prop still in place.
Lots of fish & marine life on this wreck with Pollack, Bass, Congers and a mass of Bib getting right in the way as usual, & Lobsters & Crabs wandering around.
The Leeuwarden was sunk on 24th Febuary 1946 when the coaster struck a WW2 mine, she was enroute from London to Dieppe with a cargo 560 tonnes of potatoesSS Heim:
SS Heim was originally built as the SS Romanby by W Gray & Co, West Hartlepool in 1882. She was 260ft x 32ft x 20ft, fitted with a 2-cylinder compound engine. She was sold to T.H. Skogland of Norway in 1899 and renamed SS Heim.
On 18th April 1917 this ex British Cargo Steamer of 1700tons was on a voyage from Hull to Rouen with a cargo of coal when she struck a mine laid by UC-71, She sank North of Dieppe in 25mtrs of water with the loss of 2 lives.
There are two British minesweepers, HMS Britomart and HMS Hussar, both sunk on the same day whilst minesweeping off Cap D'antifer, mistaken for the enemy by British rocket firing Typhoon planes, they were sent to the bottom and now lie at a depth of 33metres.
HMS Britomart is completely upside down, and has both propellers in place. The hull is riddled with holes all the way along the length of her on both sides, this allows easy access for some good penetration,
The other minesweeper, HMS Hussar is more of a twisted wreck, with her stern blown off, she twists her way forward to her bows, which is again upside down. There are very large holes to look inside & explore.HMS Eden, laying in 34mtrs, is a British WW1 Destroyer, she was sunk in collision on 16th June 1916. She is broken in 2 with the Bow section missing, hopefully it is not to far away but as yet has not been found. The wreck is quite open and has easy access for penetration into the engine Room, there is an abundance of life on the wreck with large free swimming congers, shoals of fish which include very large bass.
The merchantman Ikaria, was en-route to the battle of the Somme, when she struck a mine and sank 4 miles offshore, she stands some 15mtrs high in a depth of 27mtrs and is 460ft long. This wreck is huge, it has large open areas of superstructure to explore, the bows are broken off and point to the sky. The superstructure is intact along the length of the wreck, with large access areas to explore. The marine life is amazing. The ship was carrying Horses and munitions and today you can clearly see the boned remains of the animals, which are scatter around the holds and Bows area.
Close to the Ikaria is the wreck of the large Belgium merchantman Piriapolis, She was sunk on the same day as the Albertville, 11th June 1940 also by German aircraft. At the time of her sinking she was being used for the evacuation of British forces from France.
The Granville was sunk on the 13th June 1940, she was hit by Germen shore batteries close to the town of St Vallery en Coe. The ship was hit and burst into flames, the crew abandoned ship and the Granville drifted until she eventually sank.There are 2 of these German patrol boats close to Fe’Camp, AF13 located in just 20mtrs of water, one is upside down and very broken, the other is on its side, her armaments buried in the sand and depth charges scattered around. They make very interesting second dives.
All the way along the Normandie coast there are plenty of wrecks loaded with ammunition, and fe’Camp has its fair share of them as well. From armed Merchantman and coastal patrol boats to fully laden barges carrying anything from belts of 303 bullets to anti-aircraft rounds, land mines and lumps of phosphorous, Under no circumstances are these munitions to be brought to the surface.The Malachite, this large merchantman was sunk on 23rd November 1914 by U18. Today she sits on an even keel with all her sides ripped away and leaving a seabed of flat plates and ribs and exposing her huge boilers which sit neatly in the middle of the wreckage. Large conger eels have made this wreck their home and by the look and size of some of them I’d say they have been there a very long time. This wreck sits in only 30mtrs of water so you can get a good long bottom time on her. The SS Albertville is the sister ship to the other great Belgian liner the Leopoldville. She was bombed and sunk by German aircraft on the 11th June 1940 and is lying in only 20mtrs of water. The wreck has been largely dispersed but still has sections of hull and superstructure still recognizable. Positive I.D. has been made by the recovery of the ships Bell. The wreck is spread over a large area and makes for a good rummage.
The Rye, the first thing to grab you about this wreck is the amount of congers living in it and they are not shy either, some will even swim along with you. A first World War wreck sunk on the 7th April 1918 en route to Le Havre along with the merchantman Unity. They were attacked by the German submarine UB74, under the command of Oberleutnant Ernst Steindorff, he struck under the cover of darkness at 03.15am. Although all the ships crew managed to escape to the life rafts, 4 were washed out, off which 3 drowned and 1 was rescued but died of exposure. Today she rests in 38mtrs of water with her bow and stern being the highest points, Her mid section has folded over onto her starboard side with lots of holes to look inside. Bottles & jars lay strewn inside the wreckage.
The German patrol boat UJ1433 was sunk on the 28th August 1944. She sits almost upright with a list to starboard, and is virtually intact, although it has been noticed of late that she is beginning to loose some plating. Its amazing to think that this wreck is less than a mile offshore and is only in 21mtrs of water and makes for an amazing dive. There is loads to see and do, penetrate into the galley where the pots and pans are still on the shelves or into a hold which is full of wine & beer bottles. Large sea Bass swim through the wreck looking for their escape as the divers explore into her depths.The British submarine D3, sunk by mistake, bombed from the air by a French airship on 12th March 1918. This WW1 sub was quite unique. Today the wreck of the submarine lies a long way offshore, she sits upright and is totally intact. There is signs of damage at the base of the coning tower, but apart from that she is whole.
The Ruth/Pomelin, Originally called "Ruth" this ship was renamed "Pomelin" when sold to the French. She sits upright and almost completely intact, apart from some damage to her stern. For a wreck so far offshore, she is only 38mtrs to the seabed & stands 6mtrs high. She was discovered and first dived back in 2005, a fishermans snagging that turned up trumps. Swim along the decks or drop into the hold with cargo of cement and come out the opening up next to the winch gear, there is some debris on the seabed but most points of interest are on the wreck. The wheel house and accommodation area was at the stern & although collapsed down it is a good rummage area, you can access the engine room from here, but beware there are some huge congers living around the boiler.
The SS Dulwich, sunk on the 15th February 1915, this collier was en route from Hull to Rouen when she was torpedoed by the German submarine U16, the torpedo struck number three hold and the explosion took this ship to the bottom in minutes. All the crew took to the lifeboats and were later picked up by a French patrol boat who took them to Le Havre. The wreck today rests in 38mtrs and is quite broken yet still recognizable. The marine life on her is as all the wrecks on the French side of the channel, amazing.
The Seapark, Found and identified in 2006 this is the wreck of another small coaster, again upright and intact. She sits 38mtrs to the seabed, We don’t know how she sunk or how she came to be in this position but it’s a good dive. One of the few wrecks on the French coast that we have seen masses of Pollock swimming around.
The Jerseyman, A Mid-Channel wreck 48mtrs to the seabed, upright but quite broken, lots of life on this one, and as we hadn’t dived this one before, turned out to be really interesting.
The wreck of the steamship Express, this ship lays in 30mtrs on her portside. Large holes give access to the ships engine and boiler, the superstructure and wheelhouse has collapsed down to the seabed and is a good rummage. On the last visit the ships helm was exposed and stood up proud on the shingle. The wreck is only about 150ft long so it doesn’t take long to have a good look around. Large congers jostle for position around the big boiler and their not scarred of divers.
Congass This unknown wreck, known as the conger & bass wreck sits upright fairly intact but as yet unidentified. She is quite a size and stands 8mtrs high in 34mtrs of water. Hopefully all will be revealed soon.
The Steamer, This is an old wreck, very broken and scattered around, she has 2 big boilers, which are well exposed, props are still in place. Sitting in only 28mtrs of water, makes good for a second dive.
Seine Bay Wrecks
Susan B Anthony - This American troop ship was almost 500ft long and had a beam of 33ft she was Built in 1930 at Camden, New Jersey and weighed in at 8183 tons. She saw service in North Africa, Sicily and then as a transport ship between the United States & the UK ferrying troops and supplies in preperation for the big push into Europe and Operation Overlord.
In the early hours off the 7th June 1944 Susan B Anthony was approaching Omaha Beach, It was 08.20am when she struck the mine under No4 hold, the ship began to list almost immediately and fire broke out and spread in the engine & fire rooms. The ship settled quickly and on an even keel some 8 miles north of port en Bessin in only 30mtrs of water. Being such a large ship she rested on the bottom with her decks above water allowing landing crafts to come alongside and evacuate the crew & troops to land.
Today the wreck of the Susan B rests in 30mtrs of water with her bow laying on its port side with large deck guns still in place, the main body of the ship is upright and the stern is pretty broken up and like a scrap yard. There are some amazing swim throughs on this wreck but great care must be taken, this is a fabulous dive with big guns anti- aircraft guns and ammunitions spread around. Sea life is good with the usual fish and plenty of lobsters, crabs & scallops throughout the wreckage.
HMS Empire Broadsword- is another great wreck, she stands an impressive 15mtrs off the seabed and lays on her starboard side.
On the 2nd July almost a month after D-Day the Broadsword was again back at Omaha beach landing troops and equipment when she struck 2 mines, the explosions lifted the ship and broke her back and she settled on the seabed very quickly in only 25mtrs water.
The wreck lies east/west and on her stbd side, she is broken just aft of the engine room & it is possible to access the engine & boiler rooms although great care must be taken as the years of strong tides, gales and shallow depth has weakend the structure.
From stern to bow there is much to see and explore, a massive rudder starts you off but no prop, this has been salvaged. A Large 4" deck gun dominates the stern, pointing skywards as if ready to fire with lots of ammo scattered around. You pass the engine room area and come accross the bridge area, still large and pretty together giving great access & penetration just be careful. On the fore deck again there are more guns, big 4-inch and the smaller anti-aircraft guns and yes more munitions. This is a great dive in a really good depth.
HMS Landing Ship Tank 523 - There are plenty off landing crafts littering the Bay de Seine and probably the most impressive is the LST523 with its cargo of sherman tanks tipped out onto the seabed like a spilt toybox. She also struck a mine and sank swiftly in only 30mtrs of water to the seabed; the stern section is upside down with 2 bare prop shafts and 2 rudders in place however the 2 props have been easily salvaged. As you go forward the LST comes upright but quite broken. It is possible to access the stern area where boxes of shells lay in amongst the masses off fish lurking inside especially the big bass.
Landing Craft Rocket Landing Ship Tank
HMS Computator - This British armed trawler was lost on 21st January 1945 after being in collision with HMS Vanoc 24 miles to the north of Port en Bessin, she now rests in 36mtrs at Low water. The actual wreck is sitting upright and very intact and is a superb dive.
HMS Minster - On 8th June 1944 HMS Minster struck a mine off Utah Beach and sank swiftly A former cargo ship built in 1924 for the Southern Railway Co Ltd, she was hired by the RN as a net layer in 1940. Today the wreck off the Minster lies close to the wreck off the USS Meredith and in 20mtrs.
HMHS Amsterdam - Built in the 1930's she started life as a passenger ferry on the Harwich to Hook of Holland route. At the outbreak of the war she was converted to a troop ship and was based on the south coast at Southampton, the Amsterdam treveled to the Shetlands & Orkney Isles transporting troops between the Islands and the main land before returning back down south to be used as a troop ship for Operation Overlord.
On 5th June 1944 the Amsterdam sailed from Weymouth with the American 2nd US Rangers on route for Normandie and their fated assault on Point De Hoc to silence the big guns on top of the cliffs, this proved to be a bloody battle with many casualties.
The Amsterdam then returned back to her home on the Clyde where she was built in 1930 to be converted to a hospital ship and become HMHS Amsterdam, On the 7th August in thick fog she was off Juno Beach carrying wounded and prisoners of war back to the UK when in the early hours she struck 2 mines, virtually all the passengers and crew were transferred to other ships before HMHS Amsterdam sank in 25mtrs of water 5 miles to the north from Arromanche.
This 350ft wreck lays east/west and on her port side, she is quite broken and spread over an area yet still quite recognizable, The bow & stern of the ship area prominent with the superstructure collapsed down and scattered in big chunks the engine room & the hold areas are accessible.
USS Meredith - On 6th June 1944 the American destroyer USS Meredith gave gunfire support to the landing forces on Utah Beach and early in the morning of the following day. whilst she was patrolling the offshore waters as a screening vessel she struck an enemy mine and was severely damaged, the result of the explosion was the loss of seven killed and over 50 wounded and missing, The USS Meredith was towed to an anchorage in the Bay de Seine to be salvaged. However, on the morning of 9 June, her seams were further opened by an enemy bombing raid and shortly after she broke in two without warning and sank.
USS Tide - An American Auk class Minesweeper built in 1942 with armaments off 2 x 3" guns & 2 x 40mm and 2 x 20mm anti aircraft guns. Whilst carrying out sweeping duties off Utah & Omaha beaches on the 7th June the USS Tide struck a mine killing the ships commanding officer Lt Commander George Crane instantly, the explosion broke the ship back and whilst under tow by USS Swift she broke in two pieces and sank. Today the broken & scattered remains of USS Tide lie 3 miles nrth from Grandcamp Maisy in 15mtrs, a good rummage dive
SGB7 - Lost on the 19th June 1942 the wreck of Steam Gun Boat No7 rests in 32mtrs on a sand & shingle sea bed, the ship is very open and stands up about 4mtr high with her engine & boiler visible amongst the debris of boxes and live shells. Most of the structure has now collapsed down and covered by shingle but is still a very interesting dive. There is lots of life on this wreck and is very good for seeing crabs, lobsters & Plaice.
German Patrol Boat - A small distance from SGB7 is the remains of a German patrol boat, not much is known about this wreck or to her identity, but only that it is German due to the markings seen on the wreck. Lots to see & loads of fish in 30mtrs
Barsac - A French ship sunk in 1918 whilst carrying a cargo Nickel Ore by the German submarine UB80, she was on passage from Noumea to Le Havre on 11th January 1918.
This wreck is big standing 10mtrs high and intact albeit from the port stern area which took the torpedo. You can access the bridge and accommodation areas & up on top is a ships compass, stuck in place for all to see, Up on the bows is a deck gun with 3" shells laying around but one caution is the amount of trawl net draped over the front so be careful.
S.S. Norfolk - This big ship was built in Seattle Washington, USA in 1918 for the Norwegian government. She was 410ft long and had a beam of 54ft she spent most of her life transporting supplies through the Mediterranean before seeing action off the Normandy beaches where she struck a mine, after that it was decided to use the Norfolk as a blockship for the American Mulberry A off Omaha beach.
Today the wreck of SS Norfolk sits upright in only 20mtrs of water and stands some 6mtrs high in places, you can swim from Bow to Stern dropping into the 4 holds engine space and accommodation area. She rests on the side of a big sand bank that shifts covers and uncovers. The marine life onboard can be exceptional and is a favorite with local Bass fisherman
SS Brackenfield & SS Dungrange - These 2 ships were in a 20 ship convoy leaving from Southampton bound for Normandy when at 3.00am in the morning they came under attached from German E boats from the 2nd M.T.B. flotilla based at Boulogne. The ships were loaded with a volatile cargo of fuel & munitions and when attacked both ships sank in minutes. Today these ships rest in 42mtrs one lays at 45 degrees on her port side the other has her bows upside down and then twist back and opens up and accessible, because there 2 wrecks are 30miles offshore we only visit them on channel crossings or when the conditions allow but when we do the marine life is phenomenal with loads to see from crabs & lobsters to big fish Ling, Bass, Pollack & congers. We have lots of targets in this area still to be explored.
HMS Fratton - She was built in 1925 for the Southern Railway Co as a cross channel ferry to operate from Dover & Folkestone. The Fratton took part in the evacuation of the Channel Islands in 1942 and then as a general duties ship by the Royal Navy until 1944 when she was used as a control ship off Gold Beach during Operation Overlord.
On the 18th August 1944 HMS Fratton was once again off the Normandie coast this time being used as an examination vessel, In the early hours an explosion ripped through the Port stern section of the ship as she triggered an acoustic mine. The vessel began to sink almost immediately and the order to abandon ship was given, 38 of the ships crew were picked up by motor launches however 31 crew members lost their lives.
The wreck now lies in 20mtrs and stands about 5mtrs high, she is still reasonably intact with large areas still recognizable, lots of fish and marine life especially big Bass.
Mulberry units & Bridge Sections - There is always the danger when diving new marks that you might end up diving a large lump of square concrete or a some barges or even some bridge sections but for me its the excitement of the new undived wreck even if it does turn out to be something without an engine because you need to view every wreck for what it is and the marine life on new wrecks can be phenomenal & i get to cross them off my list.
There are lots of unknown targets that we have still to look at and groups willing to be adventurous diving guinea pigs the results can be rewarding
Probably the most famous wreck on the Cherbourgh peninsular and possibly one of the finest shipwrecks in the Channel is the wreck of the Belgian liner the Leopoldville. On Christmas Eve 1944 the SS Leopoldville left Southampton with over 2000 American troops from the 66th Infantry Division, otherwise known as the Black Panthers, They were on there way to support the battle of the Bulge. When they were just 5 miles from the safety of Cherbourgh harbour the Leopoldville was struck by a torpedo fired from the German submarine U-486. Due to a combination of delays, errors & mishaps over 800 men lost their lives.