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.
U-BOAT FELL FOUL OF  
I know you have found material about the work of a Navy diver called Dusty Miller on sunken German submarines in WW1. Is there an account of his diving on UC44 or UC42
Edward Bourke


It was nice to hear from Eddie Bourke, who is the top Irish wreck expert and author of three excellent volumes of Shipwrecks of the Irish Coast. By co-incidence, I have just completed a small booklet about the founder and first diver of the Tin Openers, Commissioned Shipwright Dusty Miller, RN, MBE, DSC, for the Historic Military Press.

I am sorry to say that Dusty Miller didnt dive UC44 off Waterford or UC42, sunk near Cork harbour in August and September 1917, but other Tin Openers certainly did. They brought up documents from UC44 which gave the Navy really bad news - that U-boats were avoiding the mines and nets of the Dover Barrage every day and slipping down the Channel to sink Allied merchantmen in such numbers that Britain was faced with starvation.
Some details of the Tin Openers and their diving under Commander Guybon Chesney Castell Damant can be found in the Public Record Office, which might help. One of the best stories of the sinking of UC44 is to be found in Robert M Grants U-Boats Destroyed (Periscope Publishing).
Grant tells how W R Hall, Director of Naval Intelligence, knew from German signals that the British code for reporting mine clearances had been broken, so he set a trap for UC44, which was laying mines regularly off Waterford, Ireland. This involved closing the port secretly for a fortnight, leaving the last lot of mines unswept and then sending a radio message in the broken code that the mines had been swept.
Back came UC44 to lay a replacement minefield and, on 4 August,1917, she blew up on the mines she had laid on her last visit.
Kapitänleutnant Kurt Tebbenjohanns, her commander, was the only survivor, having escaped from the conning tower. He was said to have been livid when he found out how he had been tricked by such ungentlemanly behaviour .
UC44 was tin-opened shortly afterwards, raised and beached. The wreck lies somewhere under a harbour wall at Duncannon - it was used as foundations.
Keith is not in bad shape  
Can you help us with information about a steamship called St Patrice, sunk near the Westhinder Lightship She dates from 1919 and was probably built in the UK for the Société Navale de lOuest. A friend of mine has recovered the bell from near the Westhinder. We dont know anything else.
Koen de Vos


I havent given up yet, but so far I have drawn a blank about the Patrice. But I am grateful to Koen for putting me right about HMS Keith, which Jacqueline Rushton asked about in Julys Wrecks Q & A. Here then, for Jacqueline, whose grandfather was killed aboard the Keith, are the correct diving details from Koen:
The 1400 ton destroyer was one of the ships evacuating the British Army from Dunkirk. At 8am on 1 June,1940, she was attacked by about 40 Stuka dive-bombers. The Keith was severely damaged and set on fire. She anchored off Bray and most of the troops and surviving crew were taken off safely before she sank.
I said in July that there was not much left of the Keith because of heavy salvage after the war, but Koen, who has dived the wreck several times, says that is wrong, that it is nearly intact, lies on its portside but, being close to the coast, suffers from poor viz.
Her exact position is 51 04.727N; 02 26.717E, says Koen, and when the viz is good, she is a great dive. I am enclosing a quick sketch provided by a diving club from Dunkirk. Youll see that it looks on this as though the stern is broken off. It isnt - the paper was too small to draw the ship in one piece!

Cannonball run  
I am still waiting to hear from the Receiver of Wreck about my report of an under-water find submitted during the Wreck Amnesty of 2001. Is it all finished, and has my droit been overlooked Mike Doress

Dont worry. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is still sending out letters about the Wreck Amnesty, which ran between on 23 January and 24 April 2001. I had a letter only a week ago about a 3in iron cannonball from HMS Ramillies, wrecked in 1760, which I put into the Amnesty (what an honest wreck-diver I am!).
It has taken all this time because of the Receivers difficulty in tracing the present owners of the wreck. My letter tells me that the current owners have waived their rights to my cannonball, so the Receiver can offer me title to it in lieu of a salvage award.
The letter ends with a reminder for all wreck-divers that the Amnesty is long over. It states: Please note that although on this occasion the current owners have waived their rights, you are still required to report any future items recovered from this (or any other) wreck.
Lowdown on the A3  
I would like to dive the A3 out of Portland. I have dived most of the other subs in the region and would like to add her to my list. I know she is small and hard to find. Please give me as much info as possible.
Paul James


The 190 ton A3 was 105ft long, and was launched in March 1903. She was taking part in exercises on the eastern side of the Isle of Wight on 2 February 1912 with other submarines and HMS Hazard, her depot ship.
A3 dived when over the Princessa Shoal and shortly afterwards Hazard felt a hit under her hull near the stern. The 14 crew of A3 died within a minute as a 2m gash was ripped in the hull near the conning tower.
It was five weeks before the weather allowed the submarine to be raised and she was finally dry-docked in Portsmouth, where the bodies were removed for burial in the Royal Navy Cemetery.
On 17 May the A3 was towed out to sea by the naval tug Seahorse. The Dreadnought HMS St Vincent opened fire at 1800m with her 4in guns. The third shot sank A3 .
The wreck does not strictly qualify as a war grave but should be treated as such by divers. The remains are in 38m and it lies upright with a slight list to port. The conning tower hatch has been removed. A3s position is 50 31.41N; 02 11.25W.
On the wrong track  
I am researching the ss Armenian. Am I correct that she is 80m deep and 20 miles off Melvose Head Can you also please tell me in the vicinity of Melvose Head exactly the number of ships that have been wrecked and if there might be a site map for them.
Carole Brown


Im a bit worried about your research, Carole. The 8825 ton Armenian, if that is the one you are working on, was torpedoed on 28 June 1915, after being shelled to a standstill by a German U-boat 20 miles west of Trevose Head, north Cornwall.
She was carrying 3000 mules from the USA for use by the Army in France.
Nine of her crew and 20 cattle attendants were killed. The wrecks position is 50 29.15N; 05 33.00W and deep. I know of no site map of sinkings around Trevose Head.
As for how many there are, I suggest you count them in Volume One of the Shipwreck Index of the British Isles. Youll find there are a great number!
Where is Candia  



Can you give me the position of the Candia off Littlehampton I have spent a frustrating hour or so trying to locate her. Is she worth diving if we do find her
Hamish Morrison


The 6482 ton, 450ft-long Candia was carrying large quantities of lead and zinc when she was torpedoed by UC65 eight miles south of the Owers Light Vessel on 27 July, 1917 while on her way from Sydney to London.
In 1952 salvage divers lifted 1025 tons of lead and 1000 tons of zinc from Candias forward holds. The wrecks position is 50 34.30N; 00 30.68W.
It is still mostly intact in 45m, from which it stands 18m proud. It lies north-south in an area of great sand dunes, which may account for your difficulty in finding it. But its worth another go.