Maltese expedition stage is the third and the last part of the U-Boat’s annual expedition of 2015. The main works have been already performed, local wrecks has been investigated and researched, documentary materials collected and all necessary historical data received. The fact that some of the wrecks located close to the entrance into the Valletta’s Grand Harbor did not make them less interesting or valuable for the research. Particular attention was paid to the “tragic triangle” of wrecks – “Russell”, “Nasturtium” and “Aegusa”. All three ships sunk on the same day 27 April 1916.
Wrecks of Malta directly connected to the story of Britannic, Burdigala and the 100 years anniversary of the First World War. Those ships, now silently buried on the seabed of Mediterranean, are also heroes of the U-Film’s documentary project “The mystery of Britannic”, more specifically heroes of the first episode of the series – “Red Cross on Water” telling the story of hospital ships during the wartime. Apart from “Russell”, “Aegusa” and “Nasturtium”, U-Boat’s team has already collected all necessary material from such wrecks as “Kujawiak”, “King Edwin” and “Crownsin”.
HMS Russell is a “Duncan” Class Dreadnought, one of the fastest in the history of the British fleet, the length between perpendiculars 123.5 m; width of 23 meters; 7.8 meters of sediment and 14,000 tons displacement. It sank in the early morning of April 27, 1916, killing 124 people, mostly – officers and crewmembers.
A good autumn weather conditions allowed research team of “U-Boat Navigator” not only to work precisely on this important object but also to explore the area around the wreck: in the vicinity of the ship another boat, gun turret and a plane was found and located. It is clear that these findings require additional submergence, research analyzes for identification and filming.
HMY Aegusa. We got the wreck’s coordinates in early 2014, however only this year we have managed to research and film it in high detail. Owned by Sir Lipton (same Lipton from the famous tea brand) this 257-feet yacht was built back in 1896 and was well preserved by the Mediterranean sea. The wreck was discovered in 2013 by the Seafloor Exploration Training Course and as soon as the coordinates were available we went looking for her.
Known for luxurious decoration, “Aegusa” had known almost all the royal persons of its time, it served in the Mediterranean Sea and sank, helping the mine trawler HMS Nasturtium, presumably by hitting a mine.
HMS Nasturtium as a fascinating story! The wreck that we have considered “Nasturtium” turned out to be another ship, similar in size and shape. What kind of ship is that, then and where the actual “Nasturtium”? These questions are yet to be discovered in the upcoming expedition of U-Boat Navigator team in 2016.