HMS Vanguard Expedition
Navy

In Pictures: Scapa Flow Divers Reveal Wreck Of HMS Vanguard

The first images of sunken warship HMS Vanguard have been released by divers given special permission by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to...

HMS Vanguard Expedition

The first images of sunken warship HMS Vanguard have been released by divers given special permission by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to visit the wreck in Scapa Flow.

It will be 100 years on July 9 since HMS Vanguard exploded and sank off Orkney, with the loss of 843 lives.

HMS Vanguard
Vanguard in her heyday

Safeguarded under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986, diving is not permitted at the site except under licence from the MoD.

However, a team of specialist divers aboard Orkney dive boat MV Huskyan were given permission to explore the wreck.

HMS Vanguard Dive

A full sonar survey of the wreck site has now been completed, which provides an insight into the ship's history after a century spent underwater.

Emily Turton of MV Huskyan said:

"The purpose of this survey is to tell the story of HMS Vanguard at 100 years underwater. We also hope to offer a sensitive contribution to the centenary commemoration in July this year."

It is believed that an accidental magazine explosion caused the disaster.

Despite the nature of her loss both the bow and stern are intact but large pieces of wreckage having being thrown hundreds of metres away.

"Witness accounts on the night of her loss describe a large explosion immediately behind the bridge. We can reveal that our initial survey result supports this."

Scapa Flow is popular with divers because of the number of wrecks hidden beneath its waters. It was the main anchorage of the Royal Navy and has many relics in its waters from British naval history.

HMS Vanguard Dive

In June 1919 the interned German navy scuttled most of its high seas fleet there to prevent ships from falling into Allied hands. Eight of the vessels remain at the site.

Pictures: Bob Anderson/HMS Vanguard Expedition

More: Eerie Underwater Graveyard Discovered In The Deep

Tags