to Isle of Wight History Centre Archive of Monthly News Items
As previously featured in the History Centre

July 2020


July 2020
RECORDING WW1 SHIPWRECKS THAT REVEAL THE
STORY OF WARFARE IN THE ENGLISH CHANNEL
The naval conflicts of the First World War have been largely overshadowed by the tragic trench warfare that cost so many lives. In 2014 the Maritime Archaeology Trust embarked on an ambitious 'Forgotten Wrecks' archaeology project that would identify hundreds of World War One shipwrecks that remain on the sea bed along the English Channel. The results of this huge venture have now been published in a highly accessible form.
   The sea conflicts carry their own stories of bitter warfare and human tragedy, involving both naval and merchant personnel. We covered early progress on the project back in May 2016. The Maritime Archaeology Trust report shows the full extent of the losses both sides suffered in the attempt to control the crucial shipping lanes. The sites have been mapped and many wrecks have been explored, archaeologically recorded and subjected to detailed research. The archaeology includes recovered artefacts.
   The range of discoveries are reproduced in both printed works and online video and audio presentation. The reports are designed to provide an educational resource as well as a source for research into World War One history. It may also assist family history research of those who's ancestors served on naval and merchant ships during the period. Work on the project involved many volunteers who benefited from the training and experience arising from a range of assignments.
map of wreck sites
   Above is just an Island section of a map that identifies wrecks along the English Channel. The map within the report is interactive, allowing the user to enlarge the map and home in on any particular wreck, to reveal a detailed account of the site and related data. The database has over 500 photos and 100 videos, including 48 hours of dive footage of wreck sites. There are also 3D models offering a detailed exploration of wreck sites and recovered artefacts. The interactive map is here