Anniversary marks 50 years since Mary Rose site was found

From left, Jane Maddocks, Dr John Bevan and Alison Mayor with the histographic chart that led John Towse to the site of the Mary Rose
From left, Jane Maddocks, Dr John Bevan and Alison Mayor with the histographic chart that led John Towse to the site of the Mary Rose
From left, Satch Doyle, Toby Adams, Michael Close, Tom Griffin.

Picture: Millie Salkeld

‘These three were truly godsends...’

  • Diving club is marking 50 years since members located the site of the Mary Rose
  • An account of when the divers found the site will be released
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FIFTY years ago, two scuba divers pinpointed the location of the wreck of the Mary Rose.

Now, an account of that moment has been released detailing how the divers, from Southsea Sub-Aqua Club, felt doing the dive.

The Mary Rose being recovered from the Solent in 1982

The Mary Rose being recovered from the Solent in 1982

John Towse and Alexander McKee identified the whereabouts of King Henry VIII’s famous battleship during a dive on May 14, 1966.

In a document written by Mr Towse, he describes how they discovered the location of the ship while looking at charts in Cricklewood.

He said: ‘There laid before Alex and myself was a magnificent hand-drawn chart of the approaches to Portsmouth Harbour.

‘In a very short time and prompted by one of the Hydrographic Office staff, the actual charted site of the Mary Rose was clearly shown.

We are enormously proud of our history and the efforts of pioneering members such as John Towse and Alexander McKee in discovering and sharing our maritime heritage.

Alison Mayor

‘Both of us, for different reasons, could not wait for the chance to dive on the site.

‘So on May 14, 1966 Alex and myself visited the penultimate resting place of the Mary Rose.’

The Mary Rose sank in the Solent in 1545.

It was not until four years after Mr McKee and Mr Towse’s pioneering dive that the warship was formally identified in 1971.

Mr McKee died in 1992 but Mr Towse still lives in the Portsmouth area.

This month Mr Towse’s achievements are being celebrated by British Sub-Aqua Club members.

They have released a personal account he wrote detailing his role in the search to find the Mary Rose.

Alison Mayor, membership secretary for Southsea Sub-Aqua Club, said: ‘We are enormously proud of our history and the efforts of pioneering members such as John and Alexander in discovering and sharing our maritime heritage.

‘Their passion for solving the hidden mysteries of the underwater world survives today as our branch continues to investigate wrecks in our local waters and beyond.’

BSAC chief executive Mary Tetley added: ‘The achievements of John and Alexander are to be celebrated and honoured as part of the club’s proud history. Fifty years on from their landmark dive, the significance of what these two Southsea Sub-Aqua Club divers did in pinpointing the site of Mary Rose, cannot be underestimated.’