First World War in the News is an edited review of hand-picked World War I (1914-1918) articles - covering everything from the soldiers and generals to the trenches and militaria.

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World War II

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Wrecks

Latest hand-picked First World War news.

A WW1 wreck with 200,000 ounces of silver has been found in the North Atlantic
A British ship sunk in World War I with 200,000 ounces of silver, worth $19 million at today's prices, has been found in the North Atlantic, a treasure-hunting company says. Odyssey Marine Exploration said it found the wreckage of the SS Mantola, which sank on February 9, 1917, after being torpedoed by a German submarine. The Florida company said it discovered the shipwreck about 2500 metres beneath the surface and just 160km from the SS Gairsoppa, believed to be the most valuable shipwreck ever, with $US210 million in silver.
(smh.com.au)

Wrecks of 3 Royal Navy warships sunk in Russian Revolution are found in the Baltic Sea
The wrecks of 3 British warships sunk after hitting mines 1918-1919 - seeking to stop the Bolshevik Revolution from spreading West - have been located in the Baltic Sea by the Estonian Navy. HMS Cassandra, HMS Myrtle and HMS Gentian were lost as they fought to keep Estonia out of the hands of Vladimir Lenin after Communist seizure of power in Russia. The role of the Royal Navy - in all the British sent 5 cruisers, 9 destroyers, 7 mine trawlers and 1 transport vessel - is seen as a key factor in enabling the country to enjoy 2 decades of independence before being invaded by both Hitler and Stalin.
(dailymail.co.uk)

An expedition searching for underwater Gallipoli relics
An expedition to uncover First World War relics beneath the waves at Gallipoli will soon set off for Turkey. The archaeological survey - "Project Beneath Gallipoli" - will map the forgotten underwater battlefields of Anzac Cove, North Beach and Suvla Bay. Diver and photographer Mark Spencer will rejoin the team that in 1998 surveyed the WWI wreck of the Australian submarine the AE2 in the Dardanelles Strait on April 30, 1915. The team hopes to map the remains of sunken landing craft, stores, dog tags, bayonets, ammunition, cigarette lighters along with the famous jetties, Watsons and Williams piers.
(coffscoastadvocate.com.au)

The wreck of British naval submarine HMS E18 found in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Estonia
HMS E18, with 3 officers and 28 ratings, went out on patrol in May 1916 and was never seen again. The sub was one of a handful sent to the Baltic during the Great War by Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty, to cut off German shipments of iron ore from Sweden and support the Russian navy. E18 left its base in the Russian port of Reval - now Tallinn - on 25 May 1916 and headed west. The following day she was reported to have engaged and torpedoed a German ship. A few days later she is thought to have hit a German mine and sunk with all hands. After the submarine's loss, Tsar Nicholas of Russia granted posthumous medals to the crew.
(bbc.co.uk)

10-ton deck gun from the SS Laurentic rescued from the deep
After almost a century on the sea bed a First World War relic has been salvaged, restored and put on display. The 10-ton deck gun from the SS Laurentic was raised from the sea by a team of divers from Downings in County Donegal. They have now restored the weapon and put it on show at the local pier. The gun was one of 8 guns on the Laurentic and the second to be salvaged from the sea bed. The Laurentic was on its way to Canada to collect ammunition for the war effort in 1917 when it struck a German mine off the Donegal coast. The ship had a cargo of over 3,000 gold bars at the time - most of it now recovered.
(bbc.co.uk)

Divers id First World War submarine U-40 in North Sea after 100 years
It was a key moment in Britain's WW1 effort which set the nation on a course to victory at sea. On June 23, 1915, the first German U-boat was lured by a Q-ship (a decoy trawler) and was then sunk by a British sub lurking below. Since then the U-40 has lain in the depths of the North Sea, until recenrly a diving team id'ed the wreck. The U-40 was torpedoed by the British submarine HMS C-24, which was hiding beneath the decoy trawler Taranaki on a towline. When given the signal, the submarine surfaced and, in spite of becoming tangled in the cable, scored a hit with a single torpedo. Of the 32 on board, only the commander Gerhardt Furbringer and two others survived.
(timesonline.co.uk)

French battleship Danton, sunk in 1917 by a German submarine, found
A French battleship sunk in 1917 by a German submarine has been discovered in good condition on the floor of the Mediterranean Sea. The Danton, with gun turrets still intact, is sitting upright in over 1,000m of water. It was discovered by the Fugro geosciences company during a survey for a gas pipeline. The Danton, which sank with 296 sailors still onboard, lies 35km southwest of Sardinia. The Danton's Captain Delage stood on the bridge with his officers and made no attempt to leave the ship as it went under. A comparison with the original plans for the battleship, especially the position of its 240mm guns, confirms the wreck's identity.
(bbc.co.uk)

Divers search area where U-57 sank the Scarborough fishing fleet
As dawn broke more than 90 years ago over the North Sea a U-boat captain ordered the destruction of the Scarborough fishing fleet. Long after his attack in 1916, which sent a dozen trawlers to the bottom of the North Sea, Karl Von Georg recalled: "What a massacre of ships that was! We steered back and forth firing at full speed with the bow gun. One after another the ships hit at the water line... until all had vanished from the surface of the sea." But Von Georg also saved over 120 lives, making sure they were all moved to a boat to carry them home. Now divers from Scarborough Sub Aqua Club have pinpointed the resting places of at least 6 of the trawlers.
(yorkshirepost.co.uk)

Divers: Lusitania carried arms - 4 million rounds of .303s discovered so far
It was May 7, 1915, a day that became one of the most important for the U.S. in the Great War. The Lusitania, a passenger ship carrying almost 1,200 people (128 U.S. citizens), was cruising along the coast of Ireland, when a German torpedo hit her. Soon a second explosion from somewhere within the ship rocked the giant ocean liner. In less then 20 minutes she had been taken under - with her 1,119 of the people onboard. It persuaded the U.S. to join the British in their battle against the Germans. But the divers say the Germans may have been right: The Lusitania was holding more then just people. So far 4,000,000 rounds of .303s were found on board.
(chattahbox.com)

Lusitania wreck to be explored by F. Greg Bemis Jnr.
F. Greg Bemis Jnr. is planning to explore the wreck of the Lusitania, torpedoed by a German submarine in 1915, an event America later used to enter into WWI. In 1982 he hauled up items from the ship - the ransacking angered many people - and battles still go on in the Irish courts. Bemis argues that a probe will prove his theory that the liner was secretly carrying ammunition to Britain which, when it exploded, caused the destruction of the liner. And there's more: it's claimed that among the ship's debris are lead containers that hold masterpieces (paintings by Monet and Rubens) from the famous Lane collection.
(southernstar.ie)

Divers discover German U-boat wreckage - U12 sunk in 1915
Jim MacLeod, of Bo'ness, and Martin Sinclair discovered the wreckage of the U12, 25 miles from Eyemouth. They had been seeking the 60-metre U-boat for 5 years. The location has been reported to the German authorities as 19 sailors died in the sinking and relatives will be notified. The site has been declared a war grave and it will stay untouched. The divers enlisted the help of a researcher who was able to acquire log books from destroyers HMS Ariel, Acheron and Attack - involved in the sinking of the U12 - to pinpoint the site. And they found the boat resting 150ft down on the seabed.
(bbc)

Undersea finds that ring a bell with war historians
Bells from ships lost during the Great War have seen daylight after Yorkshire sub aqua club members struck lucky while exploring wrecks. 7 bells have been recovered off the Yorkshire Coast by a number of enthusiasts who usually find one a year. Many of the wrecks were torpedoed fishing vessels but one team recovered bells from two better known casualties of WW1 U-boat campaign: the SS London and SS John Miles. The John Miles was sent to the bottom in Feb. 1917 by Bruno Mahn whose UB21 crew sank 21 vessels off the North Yorkshire Coast, and sank or crippled another 15 along the East Coast. He also landed two saboteurs near Whitby only months before the Armistice.
(yorkshirepost)

Salvaged from the depths: gun from a Belfast liner sunk in 1917
Diver Kevin McShane spoke of his delight at leading the recovery of an historic 10.2 tonne gun from the wreck of a World War I liner off the coast of Donegal. He was the chief diver on The Laurentic salvage project - aimed to retrieve one of 8 guns from the Harland and Wolff-built sister ship of the Nomadic, which went down off Malin Head in 1917 after hitting German mines. The divers have one last trip to make to recover the stand for the gun. And they might even be lucky enough to come across the 25 gold bars that remain unrecovered from the wreck which sank en route to Nova Scotia carrying more than Б5m worth of gold bullion to pay for American munitions.
(belfasttelegraph.co.uk)

Search fails: Mystery of Australia's first submarine HMAS AE1 remains
Searchers have failed to solve the mystery of what happened to Australia's first submarine, lost off Papua New Guinea in 1914 at the start of World War I. Navy search teams had hoped an object on the seabed off PNG would be the submarine AE1. Instead it turned out to be a submarine-shaped rock formation - located earlier by the navy survey ship HMAS Benalla in an area where it was believed AE1 sank with all 35 crew on Sept 14, 1914. The next step was a close-up examination by a camera-equipped remotely operated vehicle (ROV) from one of the navy's minehunters. The examination by the minehunter HMAS Yarra proved a disappointment.
(theage)

Diver wins right to explore wreck of the Lusitania to resolve mystery
Mystery surrounding the sinking of the Lusitania may be resolved after the owner of the Cunard liner won his case to dive on the wreck. Gregg Bemis can realise a 40-year dream to uncover what made "the Greyhound of the Sea" sink so fast after she was torpedoed by a German U-boat U-20 off southwest Ireland in May 1915. The Lusitania sank in 18 minutes taking 1,198 people with her. The sinking caused massive controversy because the vessel was carrying civilian passengers. The captain of the German U-boat, Walther Schwieger, was branded a war criminal, and the furore added to pressure on the US to enter the Great War.
(timesonline)

SMS Cormoran exhibit - German WWI merchant raider   (Article no longer available from the original source)
For 90 years, the SMS Cormoran lies at the bottom of Guam's Apra Harbor, visited only by curious divers. Now it is going to get a big bash. Guam has planned events for the 90th anniversary of the ship's demise. During the First World War SMS Cormoran was a German merchant raider - an armed ship ready to attack enemy commerce but disguised as a noncombatant merchant vessel. Pulling into Apra Harbor on Dec. 14, 1914, it had only 50 tons of coal on board. Guam had very little coal to give. Without fuel, SMS Cormoran was forced into internment. When war broke out between Germany and the U.S., captain Adalbert Zuckschwerdt scuttled the ship.
(guampdn)

World War I Australian Submarine Ae2 To Be Recovered
WW1 submarine Aero 02 (AE2), which was damaged by a Turkish torpedo boat and was scuttled by her crew in Istanbul Strait in 1915, will be recovered under a project sponsored by Australia. Project's Turkish advisor Vecihi Basaran said: "On April 25th, 1915, AE2 became the first Allied submarine to pass through the Canakkale Strait to attack Turkish shipping in the Sea of Marmara. Unable to find any large troop transport to attack, she was damaged on April 29th in an attack by the Turkish torpedo boat SultanHisar in Artaki Bay and was scuttled by its crew." According to Basaran, the submarine belonged to Turkey.
(turkishpress)

Search for first New Zealand ship sunk in WW1   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Divers and historians have joined forces to find the sunken wreck of the first ship to go down in New Zealand waters in the First World War. The Wairuna was sunk by a German ship on June 17 1917, and was one of only four ships lost to the enemy in New Zealand waters during the great war. Rodney Russ says there is no great wealth on board the Wairuna, but if they find the wreck it could become a renowned diving site.
(newswire)

The wreck of a World War I U-Boat UB81 degrading fast
The wreck of a First World War U-Boat is set to get special protection because it is rotting so fast the bones of those sailors who died inside can be seen by divers. The UB81 is to receive "designated wreck" status under the Protection of Military Remains Act, meaning only those with the right licence will be able to get up close. The site is already a war grave for 27 German sailors and a favourite among members of the local diving community.
(portsmouthtoday)

WW1 wreck mystery -- "It's a wreck that shouldn't be there"
Archaeologists are to investigate a wreck reported to be that of a German warship previously said to have been salvaged and scrapped. Records claim the V81, which was at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, was raised in 1937. However, members of Diving Club said it was still on the seabed. Information on the fate of the V81 is "cloudy". The destroyer was part of the German High Seas Fleet which fought the Royal Navy in the Battle of Jutland, off Denmark's coast. Some 8,648 British and German sailors lost their lives in one day's fighting on 31 May into 1 June 1916. In 1919, the vessel and 73 other German warships were scuttled in Scapa Flow, Orkney.
(bbc)

Historic battleships wrecks win protection
Two Tyneside-built battleships sunk in the greatest naval conflict of the First World War are to be given new protection. To mark the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland, Veterans' Minister Tom Watson has announced plans to preserve the 14 British ships sunk by the German Navy that day. Two of the largest ships in the British Grand Fleet sunk during the 18 hours of intense fighting between May 31 and June 1, 1916, were built on Tyneside. They were the 27,000-ton battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary and the 17,500-ton flagship battlecruiser HMS Invincible.
(icnewcastle)