(Picture: Wessex Archaeology/Historic England/PA).

Wounded Veterans Dive HMS Montagu Wreckage

It is part of efforts to protect the site.

(Picture: Wessex Archaeology/Historic England/PA).

(Picture: Wessex Archaeology/Historic England/PA).

Wounded veterans are diving the shipwreck of HMS Montagu this week as part of efforts to protect the site, according to Historic England. 

HMS Montagu was launched in March 1901 and grounded on rocks around the Isle of Lundy in the Bristol Channel in thick fog on 30 May 1906, due to a navigational error while undertaking secret radio communication trials.

The ship could not be saved and was broken up and salvaged where she lay on the rocks.

Now six veterans supported by Help For Heroes are taking part in dives to discover more of the ship's remains, in partnership with Historic England.

The scheme is part of Operation Nightingale, a Ministry of Defence programme that aims to help the recovery of wounded, injured and sick servicemen by getting them involved in archaeological investigations.

(Picture: Wessex Archaeology/Historic England/PA).
(Picture: Wessex Archaeology/Historic England/PA).

The underwater survey work is being led by Wessex Archaeology and is providing archaeological and historical data which Historic England will use to decide whether it recommends to the Government that the site should be protected.

One Help for Heroes diver, Andrew Phillips, said: "For me diving is the only place I am out of pain following my spinal injury in Gulf War One.

"As soon as I'm under the water I'm pain free and this is great physio. I love diving and here, with the seals and wildlife, it's difficult to beat."

Another diver, Sasha Bamford, said: "I hope to learn new skills during this project. I like working under water, I feel at home, safe under water and relaxed.

"I can focus on the here and now and forget about everything that's happened.

"When I'm diving I'm in no or little pain and can be who I want to be."

For veterans with physical injuries, diving allows them to feel weightless under water and those with mental health issues are "able to forget their troubles for a while", according to Jock Easton, from Help for Heroes. 

Heritage minister Michael Ellis said: "This project is a great initiative that will help wounded veterans, who have sacrificed so much, on their road to recovery."

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: "These dives help to develop the personal strengths and capabilities of all those taking part and will provide Historic England with the vital information that we need to determine how best to protect the wreck."