Lord Kitchener’s Watery Grave Revealed as Divers Photograph World War I Shipwreck

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Remarkable pictures have emerged of the underwater grave of Lord Kitchener and 736 other men who died when their warship hit a mine 100 years ago this month.

Kitchener, Secretary of State for War and a Field Marshal when he died in 1916, has been remembered ever since as the face in the iconic “Your country needs you” posters of the time.

He perished on June 5 that year when the HMS Hampshire hit a mine laid by a German submarine U-75 off Orkney and sank in 15 minutes.  Kitchener’s death – less than a month before the Battle of the Somme – came as a huge blow to the British public.

As a war grave the wreck of the Hampshire is generally off-limits to divers and researchers. But earlier this year defence chiefs granted a special licence to a team to record the historic wreck before it is lost to the rough Scottish seas for good.

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Now incredible images have been released – showing the full wreckage of the 473ft armoured cruiser.  Specialist divers led by Scotsman Rod Macdonald have catalogued the ruins of the ship 500 hours of footage and a complete 3D scan of the vessel, as well as a stunning set of photos.  Their work has recorded the ship in incredible detail – from the propeller to the portholes and even some of the smaller weapons on board.

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It has also been established that the ship sank in an unusual way.  Because of her length, and the fact that she sank in just 230 ft of water, her bow hit the seabed while her stern was above the waves.  She sank in just 15 minutes – and when crews tried to lower lifeboats they were dashed against the side of the ship by high waves.

Only 12 members of crew survived the wreck, Kitchener and his whole staff were lost in the tragedy.

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The research crew spent more than 200 hours on the wreck, located in an area exposed to strong tidal currents and storms.

The wreck of the Hampshire was placed under official government protection in 2002 – but prior to that was dived only sporadically in the 90s.  It is now a “controlled site” under the Protection of Military Remains Act – meaning it can only be visited by those with express permission.

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Source: Mirror