Southsea Sub-Aqua Club has a long history of wreck site investigation. In recent years the Club has developed an association with a number of local wreck sites.
A1 was the first British-designed and built submarine. Although the Solent area wreck site of A1 has been known to a lot of divers and the marks published in many a book, the site has been off limits since its designation as a protected wreck in 1998. The combination of a new wreck to visit and the sheer importance of visiting such a historic wreck generated a lot of interest from within the club. In 2006 when we had enough qualified members to carry out survey work - some are NAS trained while others hold the Marine Conservation Society's "Seasearch" survey qualifications - we were able to survey the wreck. The survey was divided it two main areas: the hull structure and the marine life found on the hull.
SSAC Diving Officer Martin Davies is the licensee.
A team of divers from Southsea Sub-Aqua Club will solve the mystery of how two tanks, two bulldozers and a field gun, believed to be linked to D-Day and Project Neptune, came to rest on the sea bed eight miles offshore in Bracklesham Bay, West Sussex.
The historic WW2 armoured vehicles and gun lie jumbled up on the sea bed at a depth of 20m but there is no known associated shipwreck nearby. The divers will survey the site to establish how the equipment came to rest on the sea bed.
The project, led by Alison Mayor, has the approval of the MoD and a grant from the British Sub-Aqua Jubilee Trust.
His Majesty’s landing craft tank (LCT) 427 sank at 03:03 on 7th June 1944 at Spitbank Gate as she approached her home port. LCT 427 was returning to Portsmouth after delivering a cargo of Sherman duplex drive (DD) tanks to Gold Beach on D-Day as a part of the British lead assault under Operation Neptune. As she approached Portsmouth in the early hours of 7th June 1944, part of a flotilla of tank landing craft, she was in collision with the battleship HMS Rodney. The LCT was sliced in two amidships as she collided with the bow of HMS Rodney. All thirteen crew of LCT 427 were lost in the tragedy. The incident was not officially recorded for some months during which time the LCT and her crew were reported as missing.
The exact location of LCT 427 was not known when we began our investigation.