Remains of Portsmouth warship on display in Denmark

FOUND Nigel Tuttle stumbled upon the anchor and rudder of HMS St George, inset, in Denmark
FOUND Nigel Tuttle stumbled upon the anchor and rudder of HMS St George, inset, in Denmark

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LAUNCHED from Portsmouth 227 years ago, she was one of the biggest warships in the Royal Navy at the time.

But what many people will not know is that the remains of HMS St George lie in a museum in a tiny fishing village in Denmark.

FOUND HMS St George

FOUND HMS St George

Sailor Nigel Tuttle, from Hayling, was surprised when he stumbled across the fascinating finds at Thorsminde on one of his sailing trips to Scandinavia.

The 50-year-old was in awe as he stood alongside the anchor of HMS St George and the 36ft, eight-ton rudder, which was only salvaged from the coast of Denmark nine years ago.

The 98-gun ship met a tragic end.

All but seven of the 738 crew died on Christmas Eve, 1811, as the vessel was wrecked during a storm in the North Sea during the ongoing war with Denmark-Norway over British fears about Napoleonic expansion.

Recovered bodies were buried in sand dunes at Thorsminde, while the ship became buried beneath shifting sands until the 1980s when Danish divers began salvaging artefacts, exposed as sand moved away.

As well as the rudder and anchor, there are hundreds of other salvaged remains, including porcelain crockery, sailors’ shoes and bottles.

Mr Tuttle, who runs Hayling Sea School at Sparkes Marina, said: ‘Thorsminde is a tiny place – it hasn’t even got a pub.

‘The rudder is in a shed outside the museum. I thought it was very interesting.’

Lars Froberg Mortensen, curator of Strandingsmuseum St George, said: ‘The disaster in 1811 is not only a part of British naval history, but also part of Danish history.

‘It’s the biggest maritime disaster in modern Danish history.

‘It’s part of the local history and part of the almost mythological storytelling of the west coast of Jutland.’

Andrew Baines, curator of HMS Victory, said: ‘She’s about 15 per cent smaller than Victory.

‘She would have been a substantial ship to look at.

‘They were fairly spectacular things.’

Plymouth-based HMS Defence also ran aground on December 24, 1811, leading to the loss of nearly all her crew. The ship was destroyed in the storm and very little remains.