Underwater world of shipwrecks revealed at Newhaven Fort exhibition

DETECTIVE work on how they name ships found during dives will be revealed during an exhibition by the Tunbridge Wells Sub Aqua Club at Newhaven Fort.

The grand opening of the exhibition to celebrate the club’s achievement at naming the unknown ships will be on March 31.

Local historian Ian Everest will attend to talk about his late grandfather, who was on the steamship Dutches during World War II.

The club has dived the wreck and made a film for him and several other descendants have got in contact.

Altogether the club has named seven wrecks, five of which were in the last four years - The Borneo, The Harold, Mid Surrey, SS Newent and SS Stanhope - and Lancer II and the Avanturine.

On display will be items and clues leading to their identification, as well as a section for unnamed but ongoing detective work towards naming.

Another highlight will be an Oceana section marking the centenary of the loss of the P&O steamship on March 16.

Artifacts from the wreck and a brass rubbing of the memorial plaque found by Jeff Mulligan and J Smith on a dive a few years ago will be included.

The club is planning a centenary dive on the Oceana, built by Harland and Wolf in 1887 and lost in a collision off Beachy Head in 1912, while carrying a cargo of gold and silver bars worth £750,000 at that time.

There will be a small section about the Holland 5, as the club has dived her and still holds a current licence to do so from English Heritage.

Another short section is about the German U boat UB 130 and the club’s efforts to raise the 4in deck gun.

The exhibition will help increase awareness of our underwater heritage and highlight the hard work the club has been doing. As members say, “A wreck with no name has no history”.

For more information go to www.twsac.org/index.html.