Brighton Pier 5-9mtrs
Brighton pier offers divers, a tangled wreckage with an over head environment and lots of sea life in just 8mtrs of water. Marine life can be amazing as large shoals of fish make this safe habitat their home.Shoals of Bass can be seen in the summer & autumn months and lots of eels live in the tangled wreckage.
King’s West Ledge 12-16mtrs
This is a chalk ledges at a depth of 12mtr to 16mtrs, that runs parallel with the coast, It stands between1-4 mtrs high as it weaves its way from east to west along the coast. It is a good area for sea life, crabs, lobster and flatties, with wrasse & on occasions early summer you can see lump suckers.
Anchor Lump 11 – 15mtrs
This is an area of large boulders and slabs of rock, they have been spread out over the seabed so that in times gone bye ships could use this area as an anchorage. Today it has turned into a natural habitat for all kinds of marine life with many species of fish & crustaceans living in between the rocks
Looe Gate 11 - 15 mtrs
This site stretches in a northeast / southwest direction from Brighton's Palace Pieroutwards and continues on out about 3 miles to form College Rocks. The best patches to dive are Looe Gate near to Brighton Pier and a bit further out at SouthWest Rocks. The rocks themselves rise up to form a ledge about 2 metres high in places and provide large crevices for fish to hide and swim. This makes an ideal drift dive as you can shelter from the current quite well and stay next to the ledge. Fish seen include flatfish (if you're lucky), bib, wrasse, triggerfish in the summer, bass and crabs. Fanworms are very prevalent along the entire wall and cuttlefish spawn here in early summer.
South West Rocks 12-16mtrs
A continuation of the ledge that runs along parallel with the coast, again the reef stands between 1-4mtrs high and the sea life can be very colourful. It is not unusual to come across Cod sleeping in the holes on the chalk face.
Palace Pier Reef
A continuation of the ledge that runs along parallel with the coast, again the reef stands between 1-4mtrs high and the sea life can be very colourful. This section of reef attracts good sized Plaice in the summer months. Just ask John.
Rottingdean Rocks & Gullies
To the East of Brighton Marina is a rocky and chalk gully area near Rottingdean. This area can hold some very colourful marine life and its quite a good area for crustaceans. Although there are lots of lobsters here, they are usually smaller than the ones we usually get as it is well fished by local fisherman.
The Jenny Grounds
This site is a patch of reef where the sea bottom consists of large rocky areas and even some small cave-like gaps. With a depth range from 6 – 8 meters at low tide & 10 -12 meters at high tide, you could spend hours looking around the reef. Due to its close proximity to the shore (about 1 mile) fish life is prolific as they escape trawlers! Species seen include cod in winter, the usual huge shoals of bib, whiting, pouting, ballan wrasse, cuckoo wrasse, Pollack and even Bass. This area is quite heavily potted so the lobsters seen here are usually small & snared in pots, but you might be lucky to see a few hiding under the various crevices. Edible crabs are often present also hiding under crevices, and there are usually some velvet-swimming crabs around. The name Jenny Grounds originates from all the mussel beds in the area, which are everywhere. Further along towards Brighton way, there is a very old wreck of a dredger, though there is not much left now.
Brighton Bottle Reef
This area to the south of Brighton Pier is a large rocky plateau that attracts all kinds of fish. This area can hold some very colourful marine life and although there are lots of crabs & lobsters here, they are smaller than the ones we usually see as it is well fished by local fisherman.
Wrecks 10 – 30mtrs
The twin masted steamer Ariel was sunk in collision with the steamer Lancashire on the 10th June 1892, she was 300ft long & weighed 2.200 ton. She was carrying a cargo of wheat to Varna, Hamburg.
The wreck sits in a depth of 28mtrs & stands 3-4mtrs The decks have collapsed and ribs can be seen the stern is on its keel and upright while the bow is deeper but intact. The stern gear is all clearly visible and as you swim forwards up the wreck you come across the engine and boiler room. Loads of life
The Cairndhu was a British armed merchantman of 4,019 tons, she was torpedoed on 15th April 1917.The wreck has been dispersed and is well broken up however her engine and boilers stand high proud of the seabed at a depth of 25mtrs.
City of Brisbane
She was 451ft long and had a beam of 57ft, It was on the 13th August 1918 whilst travelling in ballast from London to Buenos Aires that she became the latest and last victim of the submarine UB-57.
This wreck has an impressive bow to her, it stands a good 6mtrs high and is very intact, under the bow the keel is clear of the rocky seabed by about a foot. As you move from the bow towards the stern the wreck breaks down and becomes a tangled mass of twisted wreckage, this has enabled marine life to grow and it has now got loads of dead mans fingers and anemones living on its exterior, lots of crabs and various fish now frequent this habitat with big bass in the summer. As you get to the stern you can see the remains of a large deck gun laying in the wreckage. This is a good training dive, at low water she is only 24mts to the seabed and about 18mtrs on the top.
The Clodmore was a 3,753 ton armed merchantman, 243ft long with a beam of 47ft. She was torpedoed on the 3rd May 1917. Today the wreck lays out on the seabed in a depth of 28mtrs, HW. The bows stand proud then she disappears into the seabed before reappearing all twisted with her stern upside down. A big wreck but a lot of it is buried under the sand, so you never quite know what you will see from one year to the next as the sands shift
This Dutch Steamship of 1.254 tons was 270ft long and had a beam of 36ft, she struck a mine on the 22nd October 1916, 15 of her crew were killed. Today the wreck of the Fortuna lays 8 miles to the SE of Brighton and rests in a depth of 32mtrs. She is upright & still intact, although all the superstructure has now collapsed down.
She was holed in the stern & it is possible to enter the hull from here, infact there are now large access areas along the whole length of the ship but take care as it is quite a silty wreck. In the holds you can see some of the general cargo she was carrying and the bags of cement encrusted to the hull.
Some confusion as to here name possibly the Ikeda 6.311 ton & 410 ft or City of London Built in Newcastle in 1891, she rests in a depth of 26m. If the Ikeda she was sunk on the 21 March 1918 by a torpedo from the German submarine UB 40. She was on here way to Galveston Texas from London. This is a well dived wreck, she lies upside down and quite broken open, her boilers can be seen through holes in her sides, still some portholes left. This wreck is Brill, isn’t it Gary.
This wreck site is directly south off Worthing Pier approx.1 mile out, Depending upon tides she sits in a depth of 8 to 12 mtrs to the seabed. This is a wreck of a British steamer on a return journey from Sicily, carrying a cargo of oranges and lemons. She sunk following a collision with a German steamer (approx. 7 miles out of Selsey) called the Washington, She was on her way to New York at the time and survived the collision.
The wreck of the Indiana is very broken up and the ships plates have now been flattened by the tides and waves. The site is home to a large shoals of Bib and Whiting and is known to house a number of Congor eels as well as a few lobster, although to find them you need to look under the various plates. The wreck is not easy to find, because of it's flattened state but, if found, it can provide a good, safe and fun dive
This wreck sits in a hole, she is well broken up with plates scattered around, her highest point is her boiler which stands 3mtrs high. She makes a good novice training dive with the option to drift off and search the surrounding area.
The 1,383 ton British steamship Jaffa was sunk by torpedoed from the German submarine UB30 in the early hours of February 2nd 1918 whilst en route from Boulogne to Southampton
Today the Jaffa lies on her port side in a depth of 25mtrs, she has 4 boilers which stand 5mtr proud,
The wreck is 260ft long and lays NE/SW, shell cases lay in the wreckage but there is no sign of a gun as yet, it is probably buried in the seabed.
Lancer 2The Lancer 11 was an Admiralty trawler and sank after a collision on July 18th 1918. The wreck rests in 27mtrs of water and is upright with the bows very intact & breaks down as you get to the stern, she is a small wreck of 275 tons.
MIOWN' WRECK (also known as the cement wreck).
This wreck lies directly south off Shoreham Harbour about 1.5 miles out. Lying in a maximum of 10-12 metres at high tide, this wreck has recently started to uncover again after many years of being hidden in the sand. Sunk in 1914 in a gale, she was carrying a cargo of cement (hence her other local name). All her crew perished when abandoning ship due to the icy February waters, but the captain remained onboard, clinging to her mast until rescued.
Her cargo can still be seen today, albeit solidified into lumps of rock! The most prominent part is her large boiler which stands proud about 2 metres. There are also quite a few of her ribs to be seen now, including the lifeboat davits sticking out at 45 degrees.
Fish life on this wreck is again prolific. In summer, shoals of bib appear as a cloud, constantly checking the divers out who visit their home! This site is excellent as a night dive in good visibility, with lots of crabs coming out at night to mate and eat, and cuttlefish virtually guaranteed. Some very large wrasse can also be seen in summer skirting around. Towards the bow section, away from the main wreckage is a large anchor, not associated with the actual wreck.
The 6.610 ton P & O Liner Oceana was built in 1888, She was 468ft long and had a Beam of 52ft. Whilst en route from London to Bombay with 40 passenger and a complement of 210 crew she was sunk on 16th March 1912 after colliding with the Pisagna, a 2850-ton Germen 4 masted steel barque. The Pisagna herself did not sink but was towed into Dover for repairs. Nine of the Oceana’s crew were drowned when their lifeboat capsized.
This has got to be one of the most interesting wrecks on the south coast, She rests in only 24mtrs of water at low tide and in places stands 10mtrs high.
The wreck rests on an even keel with the bows being upright and mostly intact, as you work your way back towards the stern all the superstructure has collapsed down but the sides of the vessel are still ship shape. As you get towards the engine room you come across an amazing sight, there are 4 boilers sat in pairs slap bang in the middle of the wreck, these huge round lumps of metal still in perfect condition if sunk only yesterday. Around the boilers there are big troughs full of scallop shell, mostly empty now. As you pass the boilers you are met by this huge upright structure which stands some 10mtrs high, it is infact the ships 7000hp triple expansion engines.
Every diver will find something of interest on this dive, Whether it will be the sea life of crabs, lobsters, scallops or the many species of fish that have made it their home, or portholes that are still in place or maybe even one off the silver bars & gold ingots that were left over from the ships cargo of £747.110 worth of gold and silver ingots when the ship was salvaged.The Oceana sits on a gravel seabed and usually has good visibility.
This 3.382 ton British Steamer with a cargo of coal was sunk on 18 April 1918 by a torpedoed from the German submarine UB 40, she sunk to a depth of 22mtrs. She is a good dive for novices with parts of the wreck standing some stands 7m high from the sea bed, Although she is a well dived wreck, keep an eye out for the odd souvenir and have you seen the big gun on the stern, I have. The stern lays on its starboard side with the gun laying level with the seabed and pointing backwards towards the prop.
The Ramsgarth was a small British merchantman of 1,553tons, she was captured by UB-39 on 28th November1916. She now rests on her starboard side in a depth of 25mtrs, her bow is upright and stands 5mts proud. The stern is also intact, but the mid-section has collapsed and is wide open exposing the boiler and engine room. Marine life is excellent on this wreck and scallops are found close by. visibility in this area is often very good, 8-10mtrs
The Steam Trawler
This is the wreck of a small Steam Trawler, about 100ft in length. She sits in only 16mtrs of water but now the wreck has broken into 2 sections, the stern sits upright with her rudder and prop intact and the bow has rolled over onto her starboard side, this has exposed her engine room in the middle. This makes a good novice training dive.
VALE OF LEVEN (also called The Steam Drifter)
This one lies about 10 miles off Worthing and is well worth visiting. No history is available. Lying on her starboard side, the exposed port side has rusted through leaving large uniform holes, allowing divers to see inside the holds. Fish life is abundant with some very large bass hiding in the holds of the wreck. Also present are bib, poor cod, whiting, lobsters, spider crabs, edible crabs, common mussels & scallops.
The wreck is covered in Dead Mans Fingers. At the stern section there are some old nets caught on the wreckage so take care to avoid snaring. Her propellor is clearly visible with one of the blades missing, and her rudder is also visible. Up on the bow you can enter the wreck with care, though she is slowly sinking in to the sand. In good visibility and with the sun shining, some divers have likened entering her to being inside a cathedral with the sun shining through the holes on the port side. Maximum depths are 24-28 metres.
Wrecks 30 – 50mtrs
The Accame was a possible replacement for the Guisepena Accame, A four-masted steel barque built in 1891 by the Continental Lead & Iron Company Ltd., Pertusola, Italy, for Fratelli Accame fu E, Genoa. Her dimensions were 82,92×12,34×7,62 meters [289'0"×40'5"×25'3"] and tonnage 2142 GRT, 1843 NRT and 3000 DWT. Both are similar.
The Accame was en route from Rotterdam with a cargo of grain when she started to sink, another ship nearby came to her assistance but 1 crew member drowned and the remaining survivors were landed in Weymouth.
Today the wreck of the Accame is 34miles offshore and rests in depth of 48mtrs at low water and stands only 2-3mts above seabed, with parts very sunk into the seabed but you can see the outline of the ships gunwales. Crockery found shows part of a shipping line in Italian, loads of life especially lots of lobsters.
The Cunard liner Alaunia was on a return voyage from New York to London on the 19th October 1916 when she struck a mine laid by the german sub UC16 The first thing that grabs you about this wreck is the sheer size of it, at 13,405tons and over 500ft long she is the largest wreck on the sussex coast. She lays on her port side and stands 10mtrs high in places.
The Alaunia has been extensively salvaged and is well broken from middle to stern. When diving the wreck the bow section is phenomenal, it lays over at an angle of 45 degrees and has her port anchor hanging from its chain, lots of portholes are still in place and the seabed is a feast for scallops.
Further up the wreck large booms and masts lay strewn across the seabed and in the wreckage, more hatches, skylights and portholes lay in the twisted debris. There is no shortage of marine life, with Pollock, Bass, Congers, Crabs, Lobsters & million of Pout all living onboard.
The Ashford, a British steamer of 1,211 tons collided with the German barque , Pirat of Hamburg on the 25th June 1906.
The Ashford was en route from Seaham to St Nazaire with a cargo of coal. After the collision she was taken in tow by the tug Dominion but sank shortly afterwards. Today the remains of the Ashford, contrary to other dive reports is upright and intact, she stands some 8mtrs high from 42mtrs up to her decks at around 34mtrs.
Her super structure has collapsed down and her decking rotted away exposing her holds and cargo below. This makes for an excellent dive, giving good access areas to penetration & explore.
Big Crab Wreck
This unknown collier sits upright and pretty well intact
A 4.575 ton 380ft British Merchantman, She rests in a depth of 36mtrs HW. She was sunk by the German submarine UB29 on the 7th April 1916. The wreck today has the bows to the west & the stern to the East, the stern is intact on her port side and standing some 10m high,Her cargo of munitions, some 1,800 tons of shells and ammunitions lay scattered all around.
CITY OF WATERFORDThe City of Waterford makes for a spectacular wreck dive. Still recognizable as a ship-shape wreck, her stern & bow sections are upright and still fairly intact, but the mid-section is badly broken. Sitting on a sand scour in 30metres, she is an impressive sight when you sit on the seabed looking up at the bow with her anchors in place.
Her history is quite colourful, including action during WWII in the Irish Sea. A Nazi plane engaged her in a running battle whilst carrying a full cargo of cattle, and was eventually brought down by the lucky ship! Her captain received an MBE for this action.
She continued operating after the war as a cargo ship until eventually she was involved in a collision in 1949 with a Greek vessel in thick fog. Fish life includes the normal dense shoals of bib, pollack, wrasse, bass, conger eels, lobster & edible crabs. She is covered in Dead Mans Fingers and many species of anemones.
Originally owned by the Midland Railway Company, the Donegal was requisitioned by the Admiralty in 1915 for conversion to a hospital ship. On 17 April 1917 she was being used to carry 639 wounded soldiers from Le Harve to Southampton when she was torpedoed and sunk by UC-21.
Today the wreck of the Donegal sits in 48mts of water and is upright and very intact, although some of her plating is beginning to collapse down. The Donegal is 36miles to the SW from Brighton, she is close to a busy shipping area and in a particular area for strong tides, visibility can be challenging at times, so go on a good neap.
Built in 1920, this Admiralty requisitioned trawler was sunk when she struck a mine on 6th March 1941, originally a French minesweeper before joining the Navy on 5th July 1940. The 252ton trawler now rests 10miles south of Brighton in a depth of 38mtrs and is very broken up but still a good rummage dive.
HMS Minion was a M-class destroyer launched in September 1915 .She was 1,025 tons and had a length of 276ft with a beam of 26ft. The M Class were armed with three 4-inch guns, one 2-pounder pom- pom and four 21inch torpedo tubes in pairs. She had a maximum speed of 34 knots. HMS Minion was lost whilst under tow to the ship breakers.
Today she rests on an even keel in 46mtrs 12 miles south of Brighton, Bows point to the east with the stern disappearing into sand dunes. The decks are pretty open with big holes and areas to explore, large round holes on the deck where the gun turrets used to be giving access to the engine room. This is an excellent dive.
This is the wreck of a British oil tanker that was built in 1901, She struck a mine on 11th October 1917, laid by the German sub UC50, the Mira was full of oil.
The Mira lays North – South and is laying on her stbd side. Sand dunes around this wreck are building up around her hull which is 345ft long & 47ft wide. The ship rests in 30mtrs & is good for Bass fishing.
The Swiss motor ship of 5,364 tons. Now she lies north-south, with her bows to the north on a sea bed of soft sand. She lays on her side and has started to collapse down, but her bridge is still her highest point. There are good access areas along the length of her hull and she is covered in fish.
The Quail, an excellent dive & one of my favourites. She was built in 1870 by Palmers in Jarrow for the Cork Steamship Co, the Quail joined their fleet of ships which were all named after birds. She left Antwerp in August 1886 with a general cargo that included glassware, wool & potted foods. It was later when she was 14miles SW of Brighton in dense fog that she had a collision with the French steamer San Martin, striking the Quail on the stbd bow, the ship sank within 15minutes with the loss of 1 life.
Today the wreck sits upright and mainly intact apart from her bow which sits there, broken off but pointing skywards. As you swim into the holds and up onto the superstructure, you see the remains of the cargo especially the broken glassware, pub rummers.
This beautiful little steamer used to run from Newhaven to Dieppe on the cross channel run, she was sunk in collision in dense fog with the French steamer the SS Lyon en route to Newhaven from Dieppe on 21st August 1895. She was only 250 ft long and had a beam of 35ft, a little beauty.
The wreck of the Seaford is 30miles from Brighton, she sits upright on a gravel seabed at 46mtrs with the mid section being the most intact with large portholes running down both sides of her, from above you see large pipe work running the length and the deck has a pattern of ceramic tiles on it, the bow & stern have collapsed down but are still recognisable. Known by the local fisherman as the Kingfisher due to the amount of big fish to be found on her, the congers are huge.
TR Thompson 30-34mtrs
TR Thompson was a 3,538ton armed merchantman, she was built in 1897 and was 360ft long with a beam of 47ft. She was armed with a 4.7in gun which was mounted on stern. Her engine was a 301hp triple expansion engines and her cargo was 5.600 tons iron ore. She was sunk on the 29th March 1918 by a single torpedo from UB57, it struck her on the nose and opened her up like a tin can, she sank in minutes, killing 33 of her crew, only 3 survived.
Today the wreck of the TR Thompson sits upright with her bows pointing to the east and partially buried, her superstructure has collapsed down but as you get to the stern, it sits high about 7mtrs off the seabed. The gun has now fallen backwards and down to the seabed, shell cases lay in the wreckage all fused together. Plenty of fish on this one.
This the wreck of a German mine laying sub, thought to be UC65. She is broken into 2 sections just behind the engine room, the deck gun is still in place and shell cases lay under the gun in their sealed aluminium cases. These are in mint condition so leave them well alone, isn’t that right Innes. This sub rests in 44mtrs of water and is an excellent example of a submarine, tremendous fish life on her.
The British armed merchantman the Vasco was carrying 2100tons of general cargo when she struck 2 mines on 16th November 1916. She rests in 33mtrs 11 miles from Brighton but has a deep scour on her eastern side.
Wrecks 50 – 75mtrs
The French steamship the Alaska was sunk in collision with the Dotterel on 15th November 1939, there were no survivors. Today this wreck lays in deep water, 65mtrs to the seabed, the ship itself has been broken open by salvors who recovered much of the ships copper ingots, but their grab did missed a few.
THE ALBERNI 66mts
The Canadian Corvette Alberni was 193ft long and had a beam of 32ft, she had a top speed of 17knots, She struck a mine and sank on 21st August 1944 with the loss of 59 of her crew. Today she rests in 66mtrs and is on her side, again due to the depth she is very intact and stands some 12mtrs proud of the seabed.
The ‘Alberni’ is in the same area of the Channel as the Osprey and usually has excellent visibility, again it’s a long way from Brighton, some 42miles and as the osprey is best done on one of our cross channel runs Cherbourgh.
Why not try one of our 3 or 4 day trips to Cherbourgh, wrecks can include the belgian liner Leopoldville, the Empire Javlin and the Osprey.
The Greek cargo vessel Aristos was built in 1937, she was a huge ship and weighed in at 5189tons. She sank after a collision on 28th August 1967 with the vessel Linde. They were 16 miles off Beachy Head when the two ships collided in dense fog. She was carrying unspecified general cargo.
Today the wreck of the Aristos lies due south of Brighton and is 15miles offshore, she rests in a max depth of 60mtrs with the top of the bridge at 42mtrs. She sits bolt upright and is incredibly intact, she has a most impressive bow to her, very ship shape and with her two admiralty anchors still hanging in place. There is a large split in her side where the collision took place, this is at the engine room area and it is possible to penetrate the wreck through this large opening, but do take care as things can silt up pretty quickly. The bridge area is very interesting, you can swim along the companion ways and through the cabins and enter the bridge, large windows allow easy access.
The Aristos had 2 masts, the front mast lays across the wreck but the stern mast is still standing tall and reaching up to 36mtrs, as you get to the stern if you drop over the back you will see the stern gear still in place. This is an awesome dive but done best when the visibility is good inshore.
The Aracataca built in 1911 for Elders & Fyffes, she weighed in at 4,154 tons was 376ft in length and had a beam of 48ft. The meat refrigeration ship Aracataca was enroute from Liverpool to Dunkirk with a cargo of frozen meat when she was is a collision south west of Beachy Head and sank on 18th April 1917.
The motor sailing ship the Bessell was built & owned by the Liverpool, Brazil & River Plate Co in 1878, she was 307ft in length and had a beam of only 34ft.
In 1895 whilst enroute from London to Santos she was in collision and went down West of the Royal Sovereign Lightship. Today this shipwreck rest south of Brighton in 63mtrs of water, the stern lays over at 45degrees with the bow's sitting upright, in the holds you can see her general cargo of jars of pickled vegetables, wine & beer bottles, crockery, tooth paste pots & crown Perfume bottles. This is a fabulous dive.
The Clan McMillan of Glasgow was built in 1901 by A MacMillan & Son Ltd. She worked the routes between the UK & Australia, Africa & India. On 23rd March 1917 she left London bound for Glasgow, were not quite sure how she ended up in her final resting place but its not where everyone else says she is, reports give her only a few miles to the south west of Newhaven and in 24mtrs of water, but infact she is nearly 18miles south of Brighton and sitting upright in 65mtrs. She is a big wreck and stands almost 10mtrs high of the seabed and is in very good condition, she was identified by her name on the stern in big brass letters.
Duke of BuccleughThe Duke was a 4 masted Iron steamer built 1874. She was 380ft long and 38ft wide. And was driven by her 500hp engines. She was sunk in collision with the Vandalia during the night of the 7th March 1889, the captain of the Vandalia always claimed it was the fault of the Duke but dives since have proven other wise. The wreck today rests in 58mtrs of water and stands 8mtrs proud of the seabed, she is still in pretty good shape for her age and it is possible navigate your way around this wreck, there are easy access holes to her holds and you can see some of the 600 tons of hand painted china that she was carrying. Visibility is usually excellent in this area.
Glen Arm Head
This wreck is thought to be the wreck of the Glen Arm Head due to the amount of shell cases laying around. The Glenarm Head was a British armed steamer of 3,908 tons, she was torpedoed on the 4th January 1918 by UB-30 SW of the Brighton light vessel.
Today she rests in 65mtrs of water 16miles south of Brighton Marina, she is upright but broken.
Built for the Booth Steam Ship Company in 1907, at the Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Co, She was 418ft in length and had a beam of 52ft and a draft of 27ft. She was powered by her triple expansion engines, giving her a speed of 15 knots.
During the First World War she was requisitioned by the British government and converted into a Hospital Ship. It was the 17th April 1917 when the Lanfranc set sail for Southampton from Le Havre, loaded with wounded, she was carrying 234 wounded British soldiers & 167 wounded German prisoners of war, she carried 52 medical staff & there were 123 ship's crew. The time was 19.40 hours and Lanfranc was approximately 1/3 of the way through her journey to Southampton when there was an almighty explosion, she had been struck by a torpedo on the port side between the engine room and number 3 hold. It was quite clear that the ship was doomed, as she started to settle by the stern.
The master gave the order to prepare lifeboats and to abandon ship. The two escort ship's that had been in convoy with Lanfranc, came in and prepared to receive the casualties. Of the 576 persons onboard that evening only 34 lost their lives, 14 British wounded, 15 German wounded and 5 crew, the Hospital Ship Lanfranc had sunk in just over 1 hour.
Today the wreck of the Lanfranc lies 40 miles south of Brighton in a LW depth of 52mtrs, she is sitting upright and fairly intact, there is a break half way along where the torpedo impact occurred. She is an awesome sight to behold, sitting there so impressively, some 10mtrs of the seabed, The stern area is upright and very much intact, with access through a sky light, it is possible to descend down through a couple of decks into what one can only presume as the dining area, going by the amount of crockery scattered around. Looking at the sides of the ship, you can see the portholes still in place, sweeping right around the stern. As you make your way forward along the deck, towards the break, you can see the decking collapsing down, in on it's self. At the, break debris litters the sea bed with ginger beer bottles spilling out and spare porthole glass scattered around.
As you make your way to the bow, the ship comes back into her glory, upright, intact and steaming along, as you drift pass the starboard bow's, take a step back and look at the awesome sight and you might just see her name, bold as brass in 18" high letters "LANFRANC", an amazing sight. Great care must be taken when diving this monster of a wreck as fishing line and nets have been caught on the wreck over the years. If you have never seen big fish on a wreck before, then you will now. Believe all the hype, this is a wreck divers must.
The Moldavia one of the finest wreck dives on the south coast. The P&O line Moldavia was requisitioned by the admiralty as a troop ship in 1916, she was used to carry American servicemen to the UK. She was 9,505 tons and a massive 521ft long with a beam 58ft.
On 23rd May 1918 she was torpedoed by the German sub UB57, 57 Americans died as a result of the sinking. The wreck of the Moldavia lies in 50mtrs of water, she lays on her port side and has a couple of breaks along her hull as you make your way along towards the bows, the bows are more upright at 45degrees. There are some big guns on her which are easily identified and shell cases lay on the seabed. There are rows of portholes all along her stbd side, some are open & some are closed.This wreck is 30miles from Brighton so expect a 2 hour journey but its well worth it, vis can be exceptional.
HMCS Osprey 73-77mtrs
HMCS Osprey was built in 1940 at the US Navy Yard in Vancouver Canada. She is 220ft long and with a beam of 32ft and a displacement of 810tons.On the 4th June 1944 the Canadian built minesweeper was attached to the 7th U.S. minesweeping squadron and was engaged in sweeping a path for the D-Day landings and Operation Overlord. It was whilst she was engaged in these duties that she struck a mine at 18.15pm and went to the bottom of the channel.This is a must do dive for any serious UK wrecks diver.
This is an intact minesweeper lying on her port side with the bronze wheelhouse still intact. Look in the wheelhouse and see the bridge gear still in place.This wreck is 46 miles from Brighton and is usually dived on one of my cross channel trips to Cherbourg, Can be done on a day trip but works out expensive.
This big German wreck was taken as a war prize at the out break of WW1, she was armed with 3 x 4.7- inch guns and put into service as a supply ship. On 16th May 1917 she was on her way from London to Barry when she was torpedoed and sunk 12 miles south of Brighton, she now rests in 50mtrs but has a large scour at the break taking you down to 60mtrs.She stands high and is very intact with a list to stbd.
WARILDA Hospital Ship 50-54mtrs
The Warilda was an Australian steamer, built in 1907 by W. Beardmore & Co Ltd., on the clyde at Glasgow. She was over 400ft in length and had a beam of almost 60ft. She was requisitioned by the British government for use as a hospital ship during the first world war and fitted with a 4inch rapid fire gun on her stern.