2-5 July 2011
Southsea Sub-Aqua Club divers begin their latest and most challenging wreck investigation yet - the wreck of a British WW2 Tank Landing Craft in the Eastern approaches to Portsmouth Harbour.
The wreck is believed to be that of HMLCT 427 which sank on her return to Portsmouth after delivering her cargo of tanks on D Day. Just 4 miles from home, at 3am on the morning of 7th June 1944, HMLCT 427 was in collision with the 34,000 tonnes battleship HMS Rodney. She was sliced in half by the collision and sank immediately with the loss of all hands. For over 2 months the collision went unreported and the LCT was reported as missing.
The wreck now lies in two pieces at a max depth of 32m. Diving conditions are extremely challenging, primarily because the wreck lies in the main shipping lane to the Solent ports but also poor visibility and strong currents. Special permission has kindly been given by the Queens Harbour Master (QHM) Portsmouth and Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) Southampton to undertake a total of 8 days diving during July and August on the bow and stern sections. A Local Notice to Mariners has been issued to warn vessels of the diving activities LNTM 49/11. The MOD (Navy Command) has also given permission to dive the wreck sites.
Members of SSAC are extremely grateful for the assistance and guidance given by the QHM and to the British Sub-Aqua Jubilee Trust who have provided funding for the survey. A report of our diving survey and the results of historical research will be completed in the New Year.
All our diving/survey activities are being conducted in a considerate, respectful and non intrusive manner in the knowledge that this is a military maritime grave. SSAC is also trying to arrange a memorial service for those lost in the tragedy, whose final resting place has been unknown until now. It is hoped that this can be arranged to coincide with the events marking the disbandment of the LST & Landing Craft Association (RN) in Sept 11.