Wreck diving

Whizzbang
13th May 2008, 13:54
I am keen to go wreck diving on a ship that was lost in World War 1; during the torpedo attack on her, a member of the crew was killed, thus she is a war grave. Does anyone know who I would have to contact to obtain permission to dive on the wreck?

Cheers friends

Trev

Tony Selman
13th May 2008, 14:32
As far as I know you cannot dive on a wreck that is designated as a war grave, you certainly cannot enter the wreck. It is a few years since I dived now but I think the best starting point is the Association who taught you, ie PADI, BSAC etc. I am almost certain they have a voluntary, if not legal, policy concerning war grave wreck dives. There may, of course, be different policies if the wreck is not in UK waters.

Whizzbang
13th May 2008, 14:34
Thanks, I will try them. btw, the wreck is the Mediterranean.

Tailothebank
13th May 2008, 21:35
Whizzbang - have you seen these, on the BSAC website?

http://ss105.fusionbot.com/cgi-bin/ss_query?keys=war+graves&sitenbr=57101421&ct=0

Whizzbang
13th May 2008, 22:06
I hadn't, many thanks for pointing them out.

Hugh MacLean
13th May 2008, 22:25
Trev,

Diving on War Graves is an emotive subject and if you feel the need to do this then I hope you will remember that the wreck is in fact a seaman's grave.

Please see the following information regarding advice given by the CWGC. This concerns UK ships

"Dear Mr MacLean

Thank you for contacting us on 28th October 2007. Please accept my apologies for the delay in my reply.

I should explain that the Commission commemorates a casualty only once, either by a headstone marking a known grave, or by name on one of the Commission's memorials to the missing. The Commission has no responsibility for war graves in the sense of lost ships or aircraft containing the remains of their crews. Responsibility lies with the appropriate section of the Ministry of Defence or the Department of Transport, depending on the ownership of the vessel or aircraft at the time of its loss.

Please see the following information from our contacts list regarding naval wrecks:

NAVAL WRECKSIn Ministry of Defence parlance, any wreck conforming to the descriptions in the Protection of Military remains Act 1986 is described as a war grave. In other words, the wreck is the tomb and last resting place of those who lost their lives on military service in various ships and aircraft since 4 August 1914.

NOTE: NO TELEPHONE CALLS ARE ACCEPTED FROM THE PUBLIC AT ANY OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES

The following department deals with enquiries concerning ROYAL NAVAL VESSELS:

Mr L P MacDonald (Peter)
Room 207
Victory Building
HM Naval Base
Portsmouth
PO1 3LS
Email: 2SL-CS-ParlandHeritage@mod.uk

They hold information on both Royal Naval and Fleet Air Arm vessels, but for names and location of wrecks contact should be made with the Naval Historical Branch.

Naval Historical Branch
24 Store
Main Road
HM Naval Base Portsmouth
Hants
PO1 3LU

Enquiries concerning MERCHANT VESSELS should be addressed to:The Department of The Environment, Transport and The Regions
Great Minster House
76 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DR

Internet: http://www.detr.gov.uk (The Department's Internet Site)

They only hold information on merchant ships sunk during both World Wars where the Government reinsured the hulls, and in most cases the cargoes, of the vessels. On the loss of these ships the Government became the owners. Merchant ships are not covered by the Protection of Military Remains Act. If merchant ships were lost on military service, they became the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence and not The Department of Transport.

They will always try to answer any queries regarding merchant shipwrecks if they hold the details.

I hope this information is useful.

Yours sincerely

Sarah Quinn (Mrs)
Enquiries Section, Commonwealth War Graves Commission"

Regards

benjidog
13th May 2008, 22:56
I am keen to go wreck diving on a ship that was lost in World War 1; during the torpedo attack on her, a member of the crew was killed, thus she is a war grave. Does anyone know who I would have to contact to obtain permission to dive on the wreck?

Cheers friends

Trev

Trev,

As someone else has pointed out this is a very emotive subject. In my opinion you should go elsewhere - there are surely no shortage of wrecks.

Please let those who lost their lives serving their countries rest in peace - whatever side they fought for.

Regards,

Brian

Orcadian
13th May 2008, 23:07
IMHO I dont think that diving a wreck that could contain the remains of someone lost during the wars is much different from visiting a grave yard as long as they do not enter the wreck or remove any part of it.

benjidog
13th May 2008, 23:13
IMHO I dont think that diving a wreck that could contain the remains of someone lost during the wars is much different from visiting a grave yard as long as they do not enter the wreck or remove any part of it.

I would agree on that point Orcadian - but a lot of divers can't stop at looking can they? I am not suggesting that this applies to Whizzbang though who I trust would be sensitive if he does decide to proceed.

Regards,

Brian

Whizzbang
14th May 2008, 11:40
Sorry for any offence, I was only asking. The ship I am (was) interesting in was a merchant vessel requisitioned by the RN for use as a cargo and troop transport in World War 1.

Hugh Ferguson
16th May 2008, 07:05
Sorry for any offence, I was only asking. The ship I am (was) interesting in was a merchant vessel requisitioned by the RN for use as a cargo and troop transport in World War 1.

Could this wreck be the Breconshire, or possibly, the Glenorchy. I may have a contact if she is one of them? Hugh Ferguson.

Whizzbang
16th May 2008, 12:33
Its the SS Californian. I was surprised to find out that she has not been found or explored yet.

DAVIDJM
16th May 2008, 20:57
i have a lat and long of her sinking and after a quick scan of a atles it looks like a deep dive in that area.

i have never dived so my hats off to those who can

JoyceW
16th May 2008, 22:12
Whizzbang, is this the same SS Californian which was stationary in the icefield just over the horizon from Titanic and the watch Officers were unaware of what was happening just a few miles away? There has been such controversy about the role of this vessel in the whole tragedy and at least one book vilified her then Captain (Lord, I think) (with the benefit of hindsight) for failing to act. I hadn't realised her fate until now, although I knew that the Carpathia which rescued the survivors had been torpedoed in 1918.

Joyce

Whizzbang
16th May 2008, 23:17
Indeed it is. I just read a book on it and am intrigued to know more!

Whizzbang
17th May 2008, 05:30
btw, the book I am referring to is mentioned here:
http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?p=216477#post216477

stevie1262
25th May 2008, 13:58
Wreck Diving is an emotive subject due to bad press given to all Divers by a minority. I regularly dive War Graves and Merchant Ships on which there was a loss of life, IMHO they should be treated the same. We look but do not touch and do not enter or disturb these wrecks, I think most Divers now look upon these sites from a historical interest veiwpoint. Recently we managed to get protection for a U-Boat which is now considered as a War Grave, the MOD were very hepful in this and although these sites are protected they can be dived but on a strict 'Look Dont Touch' basis. any infringement of this will result in a total protection and exclusion order.

I think attitudes in the UK have changed with a lot more respect being shown to sites where people have lost their lives, and the days of the 'Wrecker' are over.

Anyway enjoy your Diving of the Californian and update us with what you find

rickles23
8th March 2009, 12:16
Hi Whizzbang,

The guys at Yorkshire Divers might be useful.

http://www.yorkshire-divers.com/

Regards