Skip to main content /WORLD
CNN.com /WORLD
*
EDITIONS:

MULTIMEDIA:

E-MAIL:
Subscribe to one of our news e-mail lists.
Enter your address:

SERVICES:
CNN Mobile

CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites

DISCUSSION:

SITE INFO:

CNN NETWORKS:
CNN International

TIME INC. SITES:

WEB SERVICES:

Wreck of WWII destroyer found

WICK, Scotland -- Divers have located the wreck of a World War II destroyer sunk off the north-east coast of Scotland over 60 years ago.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed on Wednesday that HMS Exmouth, which was torpedoed by a German U-boat in January 1940 with the loss of all its 189 crew, at the end of a three-year underwater quest.

A MoD spokesman told CNN: "The wreck has been found off the coast of Wick, Caithness by a group of independent divers.

"It's not as if we didn't know where it was -- it's sinking was well documented. Legally it is classified as a dereclict, but it is regarded as a martime war grave."

The discovery was made by members of the European Technical Dive Centre, based at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Isles, in an operation backed by the MoD and relatives of those who died.

Divers placed a plaque of remembrance on the wreck in memory of the 189 who died when the vessel went down.

An MoD spokesman said discussions were now under way to consider the Exmouth's status as a war grave under the terms of the 1986 Protection of Military Remains Act.

The Exmouth sank with all its crew as it was escorting the Cyprian Prince, a merchant vessel loaded with supplies for building wartime defences, from Aberdeen to Scapa Flow on January 21, 1940.

The bodies of 15 crew which were washed ashore a week later were buried at a mass grave in Wick, but they were not individually identified.

One of the divers, Mark Reeves, said the destroyer had been "blown apart" by the impact of the torpedo.

He said: "It was obvious from our survey the destroyer sank immediately. Large quantities of live munitions are strewn over the vessel."

Another diver, Alex Deas, said: "The wreck had become an underwater garden of stunning beauty, covered with bright hydroids, anemones and starfish.

"I have never seen so much sea life on any other wreck in the world. It is most fitting that the site has been transformed from one of death and destruction to a scene of tranquility and life."






RELATED SITES:
• Ministry of Defence
• HMS Exmouth
• Wrecks: HMS Exmouth
• Maritime War Graves Register

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

WORLD TOP STORIES: