KendallQ

Kendall McDonald, a former Fleet Street editor, has been diving (and writing about it) for more than 45 years. He has been DIVERs wreck expert since 1960.
Cash out of the sky  
I have always found the wreck of the Aeolian Sky not just big but one of the best in my logbook. Now it seems even more of a great dive and I cant wait to get back to it. My added interest comes with a tale that a scuba diver recently found thousands of banknotes when diving the wreck. Is this true
John Lamb

Ive heard the same story several times in the past three months, so it could be true. Against it being so is the fact that every time I have tried to track it down the trail has petered out, and that no one can show me even one of the notes.
There is, however, no doubt that the 10,715 ton Greek motor vessel Aeolian Sky was carrying more than a £1 million in Seychelles rupee bank notes when she sank. This happened while on tow 12 miles off Portland Bill in the Channel, after a collision on 3 November 1979.
She was bound from London for Dar-es-Salaam with her holds full of general cargo, full containers on deck and any spare space there taken up by Land Rovers. The banknotes in strongboxes were said to have been put in the sickbay, a cabin near the funnel, as there was no room for them anywhere else!
Some notes were found loose during commercial salvage using explosives, but the strongboxes were said not to have been found.
Just for the record, the diver shown here leaving the engine-room didnt find anything either!
One bell but no steamship  
Do you have any information on a steamship called St Patrice, dating from 1919, and sunk near the West Hinder Lightship A friend of mine recovered the bell some time ago. We dont know anything else.
Koen De Vos, Belgium


In a previous Q&A, I told you that I wasn't having much luck with St Patrice, but now I can help you.
One of the best sources for wreck information is Guildhall Library, but most of its Lloyds material has been crated up during building work. It was due to be open again by this month.
The staff pointed out, however, that Merseyside Maritime Museum Library (0151 4784424) holds a good deal of Lloyds material.
Rachel Fannen at Merseyside said it had complete Lloyds Register and Lloyds Lists and was quickly able to tell me all about St Patrice. A steel steamer of 1069 tons, she was built in Hoboken, Belgium, by the Antwerp Company for the Societé Navale de lOuest, and registered in Le Havre as a French ship.
Later she was sold to the British Tanker Co and used on salvage operations. On 29 May, 1923 she left Falmouth for Wilhelmshaven but had to put into Dartmouth for repairs to her salvage compressors. On 15 June she left Dartmouth. The repairs couldnt have been very good, because the next report came on 18 June from a Dutch tug, Enak. She reported having lost the tow of St Patrice and that the steamer had sunk during the night, four miles south-west-by-west of the West Hinder Light. Enak reported that she had on board part of her crew, seven men.
The St Patrice was charted as a dangerous wreck on 25 June, 1923 at 51 20.333N; 02 21.000 WSW of West Hinder Lightvessel. The area was last surveyed by the Admiralty in 1988, when the St Patrice was listed as undefined and it could find little trace of the wreck. As a result it is not now charted and is, in Hydrographic Office parlance, described as dead.
Perhaps your friend who got the bell can describe what he found
Canadian salvage job  
Iam a diver from Nova Scotia and am trying to find out about a wreck salvaged by Risdon Beazley. It was called the Kaaparen. Can you tell me any more about it, when it was salvaged, and about the Risdon Beazley company. I have exhausted all sources here.
Paul Crocker


Risdon Beazley was always most secretive about its salvage operations, but I can give you some details about the salvage of the 3386 ton Swedish mv Kaaparen. She sank on 14 June, 1942, after a collision near the Halifax East Lightship with a ship called Tungsha.
The Kaaparen was built in 1930 for Rederiaktieb Transatlantic by Gotaverken A/B. She was 354ft long with a 50ft beam and 20ft draught, and fitted with 724hp oil engines. At the time of her sinking she was carrying a cargo of nickel and aluminium.
From 1953 to 1955, Risdon Beazleys new salvage ship Twyford was operating on several wrecks in Canadian waters. She found the Kaaparen in 64m of water and with her grabs raised 350 tons of nickel and aluminium.
That is all I can tell you. However, I am sending you details of a contact who was with Risdon Beazley, in the hope that he will be able to help you further.
A wreck worthy of adoption  
A bunch of us from Newhaven Scuba are making a project out of the wreck of the TR Thompson, 10 miles off Beachy Head. She was torpedoed on 29 March, 1918, by UB57, commanded by Johann Lohs. Diver published an article on the wreck based on a report from Bromley BSAC. Can we get a copy Also, I have attached a poor photograph of the ship and marked a section of the stern. Can you identify the equipment in it I would like it to be the steering quadrant, but surely that would not be so proud of the deck
Chris Pascoe


 
I can identify the article. I wrote it and it appeared in the September 1990 issue of Diver. Its about Bromley divers recovering a bell from the wreck and Im sending you a copy.
On your second point, take a look at this (slightly) better photo. Youll see that the object on the stern section is not the steering quadrant and looks very like a ships boat with gravity davits for launching hanging over it.
Chris Pascoe has since come back to tell me that the Newhaven divers have made the TR Thompson their NAS Adopt a Wreck project. Their aim is a full survey and photographic record of the wreck, despite the usual poor viz. They would welcome information from other wreck-divers. Contact Chris Pascoe at Newhaven Scuba Centre, West Quay, Newhaven, East Sussex BN9 9BY.
How to irritate a wreck expert  
I am trying to find accurate GPS positions for wrecks in the Channel off the Isle of Wight. I have a Dive Wight book, but 'Im not sure the positions are very accurate. Please tell me where to find the right ones.
Nick Crouch


I do hope you are not referring to the Diver Guide called Dive Wight and Hampshire, because when Martin Pritchard and I wrote that book we took a great deal of trouble over this very subject.
Were not the only ones cross about your e-mail. The ever-helpful members of the Wrecks Section of the National Hydrographic Office at Taunton supplied the accurate positions of most of the wrecks in Dive Wight, and point out that all modern charts carry the conversions you want printed on them.
Whats more you simply did not read page one of the book. There, under the heading How to use this Guide, you would have found the following:
Dive sites are given a position in latitude and longitude; these are calibrated in degrees, minutes and decimals of a minute. Where possible, the positions are those listed by the UK Hydrographic Office. These are based on the 1936 Ordnance Survey of Great Britain - OSGB 36. These positions are suitable for programming into Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers. However, it should be noted that GPS-generated positions are not based on OSGB 36, but on the data of the World Geodetic System 1984 - WGS 84.
Therefore, for even greater accuracy, a correction can be applied to OSGB 36-derived positions to make them compatible with WGS 84-derived positions. For the area covered by this book, the corrections are that 0.03 should be added to the latitude and 0.09 to the longitude measurements.
To make sure that you didnt make mistakes, we gave you as an example the position of one of the major wrecks of the area, the 4230 ton troopship Mendi, which was lost after a collision on 20 February, 1917 with 656 South African labourers on their way to build defence works in France.
The wreck is at 50 27. 47N; 01 19. 90W (OSGB 36), but correct to a GPS value as shown above, this gives you 50 27.50N; 01 19.99W (WGS 84). When you find the Mendi, do remember that it is considered very much a war grave.