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Diving "The Queen"

The Queen lies in about 30m of water a few miles outside of Dover harbour. The slack time is extremely short and visibility is usually quite limited. As she lies in one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, diving her does require a couple of precautions.


The skipper will usually throw a shot line down, the first diver pair will secure and tie the boat to the wreck. The remaining divers will need to follow the anchor line down onto the wreck. Diving near Dover does require you to carry a wreck reel, allowing you to reel away from the shot and back again. It is extremely important to exit the water via the shot, as you often can hear the ferries from and to France passing close by. 


The poor visibility and as we haven't dived her too often, the number of items identified is a bit more limited. The wreck is well sunk into the sandy, rocky bottom. She sits upright and fairly intact. Her hull is more or less complete, with section of her main deck plates exposed. Access to the holds is possible, but the inside is quite silted up. It is better to swim along the side of the hull. She is home to a lot of dogfish who are quite friendly, they slide in and out the hull through the holes. 


If you have reeled out using the hull edge as a guide, you can dive back using the deck as a guide. This allows you to stay a bit more shallow and minimise your nitrogen loading. Swimming along the deck you will come across some cabins, which are the only elements left from the upper ship structure. The roof and wooden panels have all rotten away, only leaving windows without frames in most areas.


According to the skipper, there is access to the engine room via a hole on the stern side, however, we haven't had a chance to have a look at the engine yet.

History

The Queen was built in 1903 by Denny W. & Bros, Ltd in Dumbarton. At 1,676 grt and 94m, she was a typical cargo ship of her day. What makes her different is the propulsion, at the time a revolutionary system, that was later adopted by the British Navy and deployed until 1964.

 

The Queen was equipped with a Parsons Marine Steam Turbine producing 800 b.h.p and allowing her to cruise at an impressive 21 knots and using 3 screws. Charles Algeron Parsons founded the company in 1897 (after successfully testing his invention in 1894) and specialised in steam turbine engines for naval use. The system was in deployed in The Dreadnought, as well as such famous liners as the Mauretania and Lusitania. The last ship to use this system was the HMS Glamorgen launched in 1964.

 

The Queen was deployed in running passengers between Folkestone and Calais for the SE&C Railway company, crossing the channel. In World War I, she deployed as a troop carrier and could do the run in under hour, minimising the risk of being chased by submarines. She also had successfully rescued troops of the stricken French Amiral Ganteaume and the Queen Empress. 

 

On the 26th October 1916, she was returning with mail (no troops at night) from France, when she was spotted by the German destroyer V-80 just south off Varne sandbank. The German destroyer group had already sunk 7 other ships.The crew abandoned ship and  the S-60, another destroyer, used a torpedo to sink her. 

Key numbers

Dive type: Wreck

Length: 94m

Depth:  25m to 30m

Visibility: 2 to 5 m

Location: 51°08.863'N, 1°27.132W 

Difficulty: 2 Stars

Dive: 3 Stars

 

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Dive Log

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The Queen Log Book