Divers discover D-Day shipwreck off Portsmouth

NEW VIEW Looking at the D-Day landing craft that sank in the Solent
NEW VIEW Looking at the D-Day landing craft that sank in the Solent
The Russian destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov as seen from HMS Somerset in the Moray Firth

Royal Navy ship shadows a Russian destroyer

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A GROUP of divers has discovered a British D-Day shipwreck in the Solent.

Fourteen divers from the Southsea Sub Aqua Club located the British landing craft off the south-east coast of Portsmouth, in the middle of the main shipping lanes.

SAME LOOK Another landing craft from the same series as the LCT-427

SAME LOOK Another landing craft from the same series as the LCT-427

They believe it is the LCT 427 craft that was sunk after colliding with a fellow British craft on its return from delivering cargo to Sword Beach, Normandy, in June 1944.

The club had to get special permission from the Queen’s Harbour Master in Portsmouth to dive in the area due to the high traffic.

Alison Mayor was part of the crew on the eight-day dive last month.

She said: ‘It is such a tragic and sad story.

‘The crew had made the crossing to France, survived the engagement with the enemy and successfully delivered the cargo of tanks – only to be lost at the dead of night, four miles from home and in a collision with one of our own ships.

‘It’s a very moving experience when you swim around the wreck, particularly the area of the break.

‘All these years after, we can only just begin to appreciate the terrifying events of collision when you see the curled and crumpled metal at the break.

‘A lot of research has gone into it and we’re 99.9 per cent sure that this is LCT 427.’

The wreck is estimated to have been around 192ft long but has split into two parts.

It was found at a depth of 30 metres and the team had to contend with poor visibility and strong tides when diving.