Date:

WW1 German U-boat found off Shetland coast

Divers exploring a wreck off the Shetland coast have identified it as the SM UC-55 German U-boat.

SM UC-55 was a Type UC II mine laying U-boat, one of 64 Type UC II submarines used by the German Imperial Navy during WW1.

SM UC-55 is credited with the sinking of 9 ships during her operational history, and had a compliment of twenty-six crew members commanded by Oblt.z.S. Horst Rühle von Lilienstern at the time of her sinking.

On September the 25th, 1917, SM UC-55 departed from Heligoland with the mission of laying mines in the Lerwick Channel, which serves as the southern approach to the port of Lerwick located in the Shetland Islands.

- Advertisement -

While laying mines the vessel suffered a loss of trim that caused her to dive beyond the operational depth, resulting in the forward compartments to flood, the batteries failing, and a build-up of chlorine gas.

Unable to save the vessel, her captain gave orders to surface and prepare scuttling, but was sighted by the armed trawler Moravia, and the destroyers HMS Tirade, and HMS Sylvia. HMS Sylvia fired shells and depth charges that destroyed the submarine.

The wreck site was rediscovered in 1985 at a depth of 105 metres, but the first visual inspection by a team of divers has confirmed the vessels identity to be that of the SM UC-55.

Speaking to the BBC, Jacob Mackenzie from the dive team said: “It certainly didn’t sink by accident. This was wartime and if you haven’t been to those depths before you won’t appreciate that it’s pitch black, it’s very quiet, it is quite eerie when you swim around doing this. In the back of your mind you have to remember that this is essentially a grave for probably 20 men who didn’t make it out alive unfortunately.”

Header Image: Two German Type UC II submarines – Image Credit : Navyphotos – Public Domain

- Advertisement -

Mobile Application

spot_img

Related Articles

Geophysical study finds evidence of “labyrinth” buried beneath Mitla

A geophysical study has found underground structures and tunnels beneath Mitla – The Zapotec “Place of the Dead”

Discovery of a Romanesque religious structure rewrites history of Frauenchiemsee

Archaeologists from the Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation have announced the discovery of a Romanesque religious structure on the island of Frauenchiemsee, the second largest of the three islands in Chiemsee, Germany.

Ring discovery suggests a previously unknown princely family in Southwest Jutland

A ring discovered in Southwest Jutland, Denmark, suggests a previously unknown princely family who had strong connections with the rulers of France.

Submerged evidence of rice cultivation and slavery found in North Carolina

Researchers from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) are using side-scan sonar and positioning systems to find evidence of rice cultivation and slavery beneath the depths of North Carolina’s lower Cape Fear and Brunswick rivers.

Study reveals oldest and longest example of Vasconic script

A new study of the 2100-year-old Hand of Irulegi has revealed the oldest and longest example of Vasconic script.

Archaeologists excavate the marginalised community of Vaakunakylä

Archaeologists have excavated the marginalised community of Vaakunakylä, a former Nazi barracks occupied by homeless Finns following the end of WW2.

Archaeologists find 4,000-year-old cobra-shaped ceramic handle

A team of archaeologists from National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan have uncovered a 4,000-year-old cobra-shaped ceramic handle in the Guanyin District of Taoyuan City.

Traces of Khan al-Tujjar caravanserais found at foot of Mount Tabor

During excavations near Beit Keshet in Lower Galilee, Israel, archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) have uncovered traces of a market within the historic Khan al-Tujjar caravanserais.