CLICK HERE to read about the Hampshire Today
The wreck of the HMS Hampshire lies almost upside down. On the Admiralty Chart 'Orkney Island Western Sheet (2249-0_w) she is marked at being in 48 metres of water (LAT) at the following location: 59d7.01'N 3d23.76'W
The Hampshire is around one and a half miles from Marwick Head. From this location if you look back at Orkney you will see the Kitchener Memorial which is the nearest land point.
How did the ship sink? Well by all accounts the Hampshire (which remember was a heavily armoured battle cruiser) went down by the bow while leaning over to her starboard side. Survivors also talked of her stern being lifted out of the water and as her bow went further down, the ship then somersaulted forwards. Now upside down she plunged down through the dark, murky waters to the bottom of the sea bed. As she hit the bottom her structure was crushed by her own weight and she ended up being upside down on the sea bed.
Today she lies in almost the same position although she is leaning slightly the starboard side now sunk into the sea bed. Ironically it has been pointed out to me that she also lies facing the heading she would have been taking on the 5th June 1916.
Here is a description of how the Hampshire looks today sent to me anonymously by someone who has dived the wreck of HMS Hampshire recently.
"I would like to inform you that the ship is in very poor condition and the
bow section has been blown off completely and the props are off as well. The debris field is huge and the guns are about 200 yards away from the ship, sticking out of the sand like darts. I am convinced that the ship turned over on or near the surface and the super structure fell off, what didn't fall off immediately was swept off on the way down. The sea bed is littered with various artefacts and only brass and bronze will be there in a few years time. The decks have collapsed into about seven feet of tangled rubble. The initial explosion must have been huge and then followed by lots of small blasts that made little holes all over the hull. The men who served on the ship would not have suffered that much as the devastation caused to the bow is beyond comprehension.
May I take this opportunity to offer my condolences to you and the family concerned." 22/11/00.
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