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.
STATUS OF THE MOLDAVIA  
 Im told that the liner Moldavia should be dived as a war grave. Why is this? I know salvage has been carried out

Ben Calhoun, Edinburgh

The 9505 ton P&O liner Moldavia, a famous sight on the London-Australia run before World War One, became an armed merchant cruiser in 1915. On 23 May, 1918, while carrying 900 US troops from Halifax, Nova Scotia for London, the 520ft HMS Moldavia was torpedoed by UB-57, commanded by Oberleutnant Johann Lohs.
Fifty-six soldiers died in the compartments directly behind the torpedo hit in the port side amidships, and their bodies went down with her 20 minutes later. One more soldier died later during an amputation operation on one of the rescue ships.
Sport divers are advised that they should continue to treat such wrecks as war graves. The official view is that the salvage of its propellers and condensers does not affect matters.

WHAT IS THE ANCHOR WRECK  
Can you identify the Anchor Wreck at 50 26.71N; 00 57.60W I am a member of Buccaneer Divers of Gosport and we have dived this 400ft wreck of a steamer for many years and still cant identify it.
It is upright in 30m and its cargo includes ceramic floor tiles and toilet cisterns. This year we recovered some broken pottery from one of the holds and I managed to trace the maker to Longwy in France. It confirmed that the piece had been made in July 1880. Research in Guildhall Library has thrown up the name Fenna. Is this a clue
Andy Ryan, Southampton

A real puzzle, but the Fenna is out of the running. This was a wooden schooner sunk in March 1881. In the new edition of the Diver Guide Dive Wight and Hampshire, Martin Pritchard and I still have it as an unknown first found by a Navy survey in 1958, 15 miles SE of St Catherines Point.
There is considerable damage to the bows and mid-section; the steel propeller is still in place. It stands some 9m proud and we list the cargo as including bricks, glass,and steel tubes.
Some think the wreck is the Leon, torpedoed on 7 January, 1918 by UC-75. It was French and fits except for one thing - the Leon was reported as carrying 2250 tons of coal and 600 tons of coke, and there is no sign of any of that near the Anchor Wreck.
A local diver is rumoured to know this wrecks real name. Perhaps he would be kind enough to put us all out of our misery.

HOW A DESTROYER WAS DESTROYED  
Can you help me with information about HMS Isis, which sank off the Normandy coast on 20 July, 1944 after striking a mine My grandfather was among those who died. Has the wreck been dived Les Cockerton, Gillingham, Kent.

The wreck of this 1370 ton Intrepid-class destroyer, built in 1936, lies on its port side in 20m, seven miles north of Arromanches.
The ship is recorded as either having been attacked in the dark by two or three German human torpedoes called Negers, or to have run into a group of mines. Other reports say that the 323ft ship, with a beam of 32ft and armed with four high-angle 4.7in guns and ten 21in torpedo tubes, was at anchor at the time of her sinking.
Twenty survivors picked up early the next morning favoured Negers as the culprits, saying that there was one explosion on the starboard side followed by two more on the port side, blowing such a large hole that she sank in minutes.
Divers who have visited the wreck say that it is 5m proud and that what looks like torpedo damage is in two places, near the bow and amidships.

LOANDA IN VIEW  

Does anyone know where I can obtain a photograph of the Loanda, sunk off Dover by collision in 1908

Paul Wickford, Essex.

I do and here she is - taken from Page 87 of the Diver Guide Dive Kent.

JUST WHEN WED GIVEN UP HOPE  

We have just dived an uncharted wreck. Its a steel schooner about 180ft long and its bowsprit is still there. Its bow is 6m proud, but twisted over to starboard. Its flattened further aft and the stern looks blown out, as though it hit a mine. Its position is 50 57.56N; 01 10.14E, not far from the Sir Russell and the Portslade. I found an old reference to a wreck near the St Cecilia Buoy, but little more. Any ideas Bob Peacock, Ramsgate

I hadnt and even the ever-helpful Wreck Section of the Hydrographic Office in Taunton confirmed that it couldnt name a wreck in that position.
It did a sweep for me of its records three miles around the St Cecilia Buoy (50 52.17N; 00 48.67E), which used to mark the wreck of that 4411 ton British steamer, sunk by a mine in 1916. The buoy was removed in 1919.
I was about to confess failure to Bob when he phoned to say not to worry - Thanet divers had solved the problem. The wreck was of the 806 ton barque River Leven, bound from Caleta Buena, Chile, for Rotterdam carrying nitrate of soda, when it was run down by the Swedish steamer Adolphe Meyor with the loss of three crew on 4 April, 1885.
And what records had they consulted to find this The best of all - the ship itself. On the iron boss of the steering wheel was River Leven and the builders name, Readhead and Co. As fair exchange is the name of the wreck research game, the Wreck Section now has one less unknown in its records!

Death of a treasure-hunter  
Diver-adventurer Ted Falcon-Barker was killed in a car crash in Spain last year while heading for Ibiza, scene of his earliest wreck-diving exploits. He was, by his count, 67.
I had asked for news of Ted in the September Wrecks Q& A and Reg Vallintine, another veteran of those early years of sport-diving in the Med, informed me of his death. Ted is believed to have had a heart attack at the wheel; the car rolled into a gorge and it was three days before it was found.
Ted was always a mystery man. It was rumoured in British diving circles in the 50s that he was a member of the Australian branch of the SAS, and he did seem to know some extremely unpleasant ways of close-in fighting. Ted encouraged such stories.
His tales were usually tall, but his discovery of a Roman galley off Ibiza was real enough. It was the subject of his first book, which might have led you to believe that here was a budding underwater archaeologist. His later books, however, owed more to his fertile imagination than the facts.
He was no archaeologist, but he made a lot of finds. While diving off the Yugoslavian coast on a Roman wreck with hundreds of intact amphoras, he would spend his surface interval calculating exactly how much its cargo would fetch when he sold it on the then-booming diving antiques market in Germany.
One day he drifted off that wreck and found himself on the amazingly preserved remains of an 18th century French ship. Ted, of course, sold most of it and its cargo.
Trouble seemed to be his buddy. Yachts sank mysteriously beneath him. On one voyage to tropical seas, one of his crew was killed by pirates - a Scotland Yard detective was sent to investigate.
Ted was, in other ways, a very lucky diver. He is reputed to have found a huge treasure while diving for galleons off South America, and located another gold-bearing wreck in the Bahamas. As a result of these dives, he was a big spender for two years. Then, suddenly, the money dried up.
Most of his contemporaries have horrendous tales to tell about Ted Falcon-Barkers diving and treasure-hunting. They should write a book about him - fact, not fiction.