Divers locate WW1 destroyer A team of technical divers has found the wreck of HMS Nessus, sunk in 1918 off Orkney, in Scotland.
Operating from Andy Cuthbertson's Orkney-based Jean Elaine, the divers located the M-class destroyer 13 miles south-east of the Pentland Skerries, using information gleaned by Orkney researcher Kevin Heath from naval records, the National Archive at Kew and survey material held by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
Led by Leigh Grubb, the divers descended to find the wreck sitting at a depth of 68m. Observations made for what Heath described as a 'positive identification'.
The noting of three 4in guns by one of the divers, Mark Leicester, identified the wreck as a WW1 destroyer and, by necessity, Nessus. The only other destroyer wrecks in the area are a couple of WW2-vintage ships, HMS Daring and HMS Imogen.
The divers raised shell-cases carrying the dates 1901, 1902 and 1912; crockery, bearing naval crests; and a number of other artefacts, including the ship's wheel, compass binnacle and a navigation light unit.
Nessus, which two years earlier had fought at the Battle of Jutland, sank after being rammed by another British warship. Nessus and the destroyer HMS Maenad were escorting a cruiser, HMS Amphirite, as she laid mines in the Northern Barrage.
Zig-zagging to avoid German submarines, the ships entered a fog bank and, when Nessus accidentally got ahead of the cruiser, the collision occurred. Holed in the engine-room, Nessus was put under tow first by Maenad and then by another destroyer, HMS Paladin, but sank as weather worsened. No crew were lost.
Heath and Cuthbertson have worked together to find and/or identify several new wreck sites in Orkney waters. Successes have included location of the armed boarding steamer HMS Duke of Albany, and identification of the German submarines U92 and U102.
Both U-boats went down in the Northern Barrage's Area B - exactly where Amphirite had been working before her unfortunate collision with Nessus.