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.
Typhoon search  
Can you tell me anything about a British single-engined aircraft which ditched about 100 yards off Deal beach I know it was dived in the 1970s. I am also looking for the same type of aircraft which ditched about 160 yards off the coast between Dymchurch and Littlestone-on-Sea, Kent.
Dave Robinson


 A difficult one. You say ditched, which implies deliberate action, but Ross McNeill of Bewdley, Worcestershire, the expert divers consult about wartime aircraft losses, tells me that official records use both ditched and crashed to describe a landing in the sea. He has found 15 single-engined RAF planes down close to Deal between 1940 and 1944 - nine Spitfires, three Hurricanes, and three Typhoons.
Real possibles are three Typhoons Mark 1b, all of 609 Squadron. First into the drink on 31 October, 1942 was R7708, flown by Pilot Officer R H Payne, who was hit by own AA and ditched. On 6 April, 1943, Typhoon DN416, Sgt E J M C Van Zuylen, suffered engine trouble and ditched. And then on 8 August, 1943, Flight-Lt L E Smith, piloting JP390, ditched and was helped ashore by soldiers.
In the Dymchurch area Ross McNeill found three Hurricanes, a Spitfire and a Typhoon, and only the Typhoon fits your details.
On 24 September, 1943 it had engine trouble, ditched and the pilot was rescued. This was JP653, a Typhoon 1b of 247 Squadron, piloted by Flight-Lt C E Brayshaw.
I can find no trace of any recent diving on aircraft in either area. There would be little left. A German ME 109, for example, which was a shallow dive near Dymchurch many years ago, was soon sea-smashed. The bits of engine which were left were quickly covered by shingle. The harder seabed off Deal would be no kinder.
Dont forget that the wreckage of all military aircraft of any nation is automatically protected under the Military Remains Act of 1986.
If you can give me a better idea of the dates of the ditching of the aircraft you are looking for, Ill pass them on to Ross McNeill and he should be able to give more details.


Calling all Glazets  
Can you or your readers help me to trace any family or dependants of a merchant seaman called B B Glazet who was aboard the Llama, a tanker wrecked in the Orkneys on 31 October, 1915 I have found - and declared - something on this wreck that the Glazet family might be interested in.
Bryan Savage


Formerly called Brilliant, this 3189-ton bulk petrol tanker, run by Standard Oil of New Jersey, was owned by a German company. She was taken over by the US government after being interned at the start of WW1 and wrecked on Stack Skerry, Westray, Orkney, lying well- broken in 12m. I will pass on all Glazets to Bryan if they contact me at Diver.

Mixed signals on U-boat position  
I received an e-mail from a dive-instructor friend in Australia called Rob Graafsma. He says: Im trying to find the wreck of my uncles sub. He got killed in U-480 in the English Channel when she was sunk on 24 February,1945. Before I buy a chart I want to know if the sub is in an area relatively close to shore so I can dive it one day. Can you help
Mark Lavington


 The first U-boat to be fitted with a schnorkel, U-480 was out of Brest in the Channel and returning to base when she attacked convoy BTC 78 and sank the 1,644 ton British steamer Oriskany four miles off the Longships, with the loss of the crew of 22 and four gunners.
The German U-boat, a Type VIIC, 770 ton Atlantic boat, was reported to have been immediately hunted by the convoy escort frigates HMS Duckworth and Rowley. The fact that she was one of 10 U-boats coated with rubber to deceive sonar did not seem to save her, and after a six-hour hunt it was claimed that she was sunk by depth charges.
There were no survivors from her 48 crew, including her commanding officer Oberleutnant Hans Joachim Forster. Her loss position has been given as 7.25 miles south-east of Deep Point on St Marys, Isles of Scilly, but Innes McCartney, who is one of the few ever to have dived the wreck, disputes this and the details of her sinking.
He reports finding it with damage to props, stern torpedo tube and schnorkel and looking as though it had hit a mine in 60m south of Poole.
There is some underwater footage of the wreck in McCartneys U-Boat Wrecks of WW2, Volume One (Periscope Publishing). To find out about diving it, you will have to contact him.
Mystery fist  
Sticking out of the silt in 15m near Mashfords in Plymouth Sound was a metal thread. I pulled it, and out on the other end came a clenched fist! When I got it home and cleaned it up, the fist, about the size of a childs, was made of brass/bronze and the hole looked as though it might have had a rope running through it. Any ideas where this might have come from I have declared it to the Receiver.
Dan Cox


The shoal off Mashfords Shipyard is famous for the debris of centuries and interesting finds. One lucky diver found a complete and intact divers hardhat helmet there. I agree with you that this is probably the top of a decorative rope stanchion, but havent a clue where it came from. A rope ladder or gangway or rail of a luxury yacht of the 1930s perhaps, being refitted at the yard. Has anyone else seen anything like it
The dramatic career of Boadicea  
I am the niece of a sailor who lost his life when HMS Boadicea sank off Portland in1944. I am desperately trying to find any information about the ship or her wreck. Can you help
Ingrid Thomson


This 1360-ton, 363ft destroyer, built in 1931, had an action-packed life. She evacuated Britons from Spain at the start of the Spanish Civil War. In 1940, she helped evacuate the 51st Highland Division from Le Havre, and was dive-bombed by nine Ju-87s and hit three times, one bomb killed everybody but one in the engine-room.
 In 1941 she took part in the hunt for the Scharnhorst and the Gneisenau. The following year she was hit by a shell from a French destroyer off Oran. Then she escorted convoys to Russia and in the South Atlantic. She took part in the D-Day landings.
Boadiceas final days were spent escorting convoys to Normandy. On 13 June, 1944, in Lyme Bay, she took a direct hit in the bow from a torpedo dropped by a German bomber. Her forward magazine exploded, almost blowing her in half. She sank swiftly, with the deaths of 175 crew - fewer than a dozen men survived.
The main section of this war grave lies upright in 52m, 16 miles south-west of Portland Bill. The bow is in scattered pieces, and AA guns on the stern still point to the sky.
Gut reaction  
This summer we dived an uncharted wreck of a steam tug in Kellett Gut in Goodwin Sands. We found a bell with the initials GSNC and a builders plate, which appears to read J P Penfolds & Sons Engineers, 211 Ship, Ship Builder, South Shields. Can you identify this one
Alan and Roy


I asked knowledgeable Kent diver Bob Peacock for help. He suggests that the wreck might be the Hursley, sunk in fog on 16 November, 1930 in this short cut through the Goodwins, which has opened and closed because of sand movements over the years.
The 191 ton Hursley was not a tug but a small steamer,108ft long with a beam of 18ft. Built in South Shields in 1901, she was on her way from Goole to Alderney with a cargo of coal.
However, Alan and Roy might have dived a double wreck site. Bob says that a small steam tug of 67 tons called Sea Gull, sailing from North Shields to Boulogne in ballast, was lost in the area on 30 November, 1918. The bell could belong to Sea Gull, because the General Steam Navigation Company tended to name its ships after birds.