MARINE archaeology students are working to discover how a Second World War minesweeper came to be wrecked off Gosport.
The students have taken an interest in the wreck, off Priory Road, as part of a university project.
They have already identified the vessel as British-built minesweeper M113.
She was laid down in September 1940 in Essex and launched the following year.
In 1945 the minesweeper was handed over to the director of small craft disposals to be sold off.
But how she came to be in Gosport remains a mystery.
Student Louise Brown, 20, of Linden Grove, Gosport, said: ‘Local residents may have come across this wreck when out walking and have perhaps wondered about its identity. The first problem was to find the ID of this specific minesweeper.
‘With the kind help of members of the local community our hull hunters got the ID. This has been confirmed by photographs in which the name appears complete, before the degradation and removal of the ship timbers.
‘The mystery has not yet been solved. Opinion is divided over whether it became the property of a local timber merchant or a Forton Road store owner.
‘The main aim of the project is bringing the wreck to the forefront of local interest, breaking its long silence and telling its story.’
The five students, from the University of Southampton, spent weeks scouring naval databases to find the identity of the mystery minesweeper.
Dan Gueran, barman at the Jolly Roger pub, which is near the wreck, said: ‘I think it’s a great thing they are doing.
‘The girls have been in here a few times, giving us updates. We have got a lot of locals who are interested in it and want to know where it came from.
‘It’s nice that somebody is taking the time to dig up all the history around it and find out where it came from.’
If you think you can help, visit facebook.com and search for ‘Do You Know This Wreck?’ or call reporter Sam Bannister on (023) 9254 5803.