Southsea Sub-Aqua Club is delighted to produce this follow-on report to the Tanks and Bulldozers project carried out and reported upon in 2008.

Having successfully solved the mystery of how a collection of World War 2 armoured fighting vehicles (2 Centaur Tanks and 2 D7 Armoured Bulldozers) came to rest on the sea bed 8 miles south of Bracklesham, West Sussex, members of Southsea Branch were keen to locate the wreck of the ill-fated Landing Craft Tank (LCT) from which they had been lost.

Measuring the LCT Prop ©Martin Davies

Our detailed research into the formerly Top Secret war diaries and files finally revealed the story behind their sinking. The tanks and bulldozers had been lost from LCT(A) 2428, when she capsized whilst under tow on the morning of 6th June 1944 – D-Day as part of Operation NEPTUNE. The LCT(A) had been assigned to ‘J’ Force as part of the Canadian lead assault of Juno beach and had British Royal Marines and Canadian troops onboard. All onboard were rescued and returned safely to Portsmouth. LCT(A) 2428 did not sink immediately after the capsize, but had floated on for some time before finally being sunk by gunfire from the Rescue Tug ‘Jaunty’.

This project should, therefore, be considered an extension to the original Tanks and Bulldozers Project as it seeks to complete the historical record and documents the wrecks as they are today. An update to the initial Tanks and Bulldozers report was produced in 2009 and is attached at Annex A to this Part 1 for reference and as a bridge between the two survey projects. In addition, this report also gives an opportunity to provide details on the further exciting developments of the work previously carried out in 2008 as detailed in the initial Tanks and Bulldozers report of October 2008.

In working to locate possible wreck sites in the area for the LCT(A) 2428, Branch members became aware of a number of other unidentified wrecks which also appeared to have a connection with Operation “NEPTUNE”. Operation Neptune was the code - name given to the Maritime phase of Operation “OVERLORD” (The invasion of Normandy by sea and the liberation of France).

Rather than limit the project to one wreck site, the Branch set about investigating a number of wrecks all of which were believed to have a connection to Operation NEPTUNE and these follow-on investigations could be the start of a longer-term project to record many wrecks which were associated with Operation NEPTUNE in the area.

Download the report here.