Gosport diver takes part in poignant service to lay wreath on sunken warships

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  • Gosport diver Jane Maddocks was part of team to remember men who died on sunken warships during the First World War
  • The experienced diver surveyed HMS Cressy, Hogue and Aboukir and a wreath was laid as part of the expedition
  • Around 1,500 men lost their lives on the ships when they sunk in 1914
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PROFESSIONAL diver Jane Maddocks helped lay a wreath on a shipwreck from the First World War.

The self-employed maritime researcher was part of team to lay a commemorative wreath on HMS Cressy which was sunk in 1914 off the coast of Holland.

Underwater archaeologist Jane Maddocks pictured in her diving gear '''Pic: Chris Balcombe''07568 098176

Underwater archaeologist Jane Maddocks pictured in her diving gear '''Pic: Chris Balcombe''07568 098176

Jane, from Gosport, also got to survey two other ships for the mission called the Livebait Squadron Expedition.

The vessels, HMS Hogue and HMS Aboukir, sank within an hour of HMS Cressy on September 22 – 101 years ago.

Around 1,500 men lost their lives when the three ships were hit by a German submarine U9.

Jane said: ‘The fact tragedies occurred during wartime doesn’t make it any less tragic. The Livebait Squadron wrecks are spectacular but it’s also the story behind them that adds to the sense of wonder.

It was certainly a poignant moment.

Jane Maddocks

‘The story behind the sinking of HMS Cressy, Hogue and Aboukir is amazing and the loss of life was so tragically high.

‘In fact it changed the way warships dealt with survivors who may be in the sea.

‘It was decreed that warships wouldn’t collect or rescue survivors and that had to be left to other ships that weren’t warships.’

Carol Wood, from Suffolk, was giving the honour of laying the wreath.

Jane added: ‘I was pleased that Carol, who has a connection to one of those who lost their lives on one of the ships, laid a wreath on the Cressy to commemorate those who died. It was certainly a poignant moment.

‘The wrecks, although heavily salvaged, remain impressive structures and lie in around 30m of water.

‘They are quite hard to get to, particularly from the UK.’

The expedition to survey the wrecks and lay the wreath was led by Dutch diver Bart Goedmakers.

Jane was invited to join it having completed last year’s HMS Pathfinder challenge alongside one of the expedition’s other members Dave Lock.

As well as laying the wreath, the team of divers are helping to collect photographs and stories of those onboard the ships.

Jane said: ‘We are all supporting the Livebait Squadron Society in trying to gather information about who the men were, and any photographs or recorded memories or what happened that day.’