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Diving the St. Dunstan

St. Dunstan DivemapThe St. Dunstan is a very pleasant wreck to dive. Only a short distance of shore, she is often slightly more protected to dive. For some reason, not many skippers recommend her, even though we would rate it a very good dive.

 

The St. Dunstan lies upside down and it is actually possible to dive her all the way from the boilers along her prop shaft all the way to propeller. It is a tight squeeze in areas and you should be careful not get snagged or caught out.

 

A much easier route is to follow her from bow to stern. Just behind the bow you will find two massive boilers. The engine lies exposed behind them. Just off to the right and the seabed you will find two massive cogs from the dredger chain, with the chain just flowing away behind it following the hull.

 

Swimming along the chain and hull, you will eventually come across one of the many large dredger buckets she used to carry. Turning left back up the hull at that point gives you access to the large winch, which operated the dredger "crane" - the propshaft lies openly just behind it and you will come across the propeller and rudder.

 

At that point you will be around 24m depth, allowing you any easy point to release your SMB and make yourself back to the surface.

 

 

History

The St. Dunstan was built by Lobnitz and Co in 1894. At 730 grt, equipped with 2 triple expansion engines and 61m, she was not a pretty site and just one the many workhorse deployed to keepg the harbour and shipping lines clear. Not much is known about her services and where she operated, except that her last civilian captain was 

 

She was captained by Thomas Morgan. As World War I was taking its toll on the British shipping lanes, the Admirality requistioned her (like anything else they could get their hands on) to keep the vital shipping lanes open. She was converted to work as a dredger / mineclearer and Sub-Lieutenant Charles Gray was in charge.

 

On 23. September 1917, a large explosion rocked her. Initially, everyone believed she had been torpedoed, but minesweeper clearance later proved it to be the work of the UC21 under command of Werner von Zerboni di Sposetti. The UC21 was famous later for being under the initial command of Reinhold Saltzwedel, whose name was used to name the 2nd Flotilla. Zerboni di Sposetti would have been likely given orders to deploy all his mines in the key shipping channels - five of the 18 mines a UC II U-boat (Minelayer U-Boat) could carry were recovered and identified later after the sinking of the St. Dunstan.

Charles Gray ordered an immediate evacuation by ordering everyone to jump overboard into the water. He had enough time to through a few lifebuoys overbaord before jumping himself into the water. Within 4 minutes she turtled and sank to the bottom. 19 of 21 crew were saved by passing trawler escorts, first mate John Obery and deckhand Edward Warren died.

Key numbers

Dive type: Wreck

Length: 61m

Depth:  24m - 30m

Visibility: 3m - 10m

Location: 50°38.29N, 2°42.06W 

Difficulty: 3 star

Dive: 4 star

 

Pictures
St. Dunstan
Dive Log

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St. Dunstan Log Book