Looking Forward Whilst On Lockdown

David Dring

We are in the midst of difficult times.

With the UK on lockdown because of Covid-19, diving is on hold and quite possibly far from our minds.  

But we must remember this will not go on for ever and better days will come.  To help maintain some club cohesion I thought I would share a small story that relates to some possible diving next year when hopefully things will be much more normal for all of us.

During World War Two my great uncle, whose name was William Kendall, was serving with the Royal Navy.  He was an experienced sailor with many years service, but was placed on a relatively poor quality destroyer named HMS Exmoor, which had a generally young and inexperienced crew.  In February 1941 whilst on convoy duty in the North Sea HMS Exmoor engaged with the enemy and was subsequently sunk.  Most of the crew were killed and lost at sea.  My uncle who was reputedly a strong swimmer got close enough to the shore such that even though he died in the water his body was washed ashore at Lowestoft where he is now buried.

The HMS Exmoor is a protected wreck and a war grave but it is possible to dive it. She sits in approximately 30m of water and is relatively upright.  As next year is the 80th anniversary of the sinking and my uncle’s death I hope to organise a Charnwood Saltz trip to Lowestoft to see if we can dive the wreck. I would like to do this in conjunction with the local BSAC club to develop links and to benefit from their local knowledge, and if possible also with some sort of backing from the Royal Navy who in the past have supported similar BSAC projects.

Although it could be some time till the dates are confirmed, assuming we can go, it would be good if club members might consider whether or not they might come on such a trip. Given the depths involved you would have to be Sports Diver or above, but with a year ahead of us those members currently Ocean Diver should have time to get up to Sports.  Personally it would be very special for me if we could dive the HMS Exmoor.  Along with many other members of the family I have the name Kendall.

As soon as I have any more information I can let the club know.

In the meantime we will, God-willing, get through this current pandemic and hopefully get to see each and dive together in the not too distant future.

Name:HMS Exmoor
Ordered:1939
Builder:Vickers-ArmstrongsTyneside
Laid down:8 June 1939
Launched:25 January 1940
Commissioned:18 October 1940
Honours and
awards:
North Sea, 1941
Fate:Sunk on 25 February 1941
Badge:On a Field Red, two foxes brushes in Saltire between two mullets Gold.
General characteristics
Class and type:Hunt-class destroyer
Displacement:1,000 t standard1,340 t full load
Length:280 ft (85 m)
Beam:29 ft (8.8 m)
Draught:10 ft 9 in (3.28 m)
Propulsion:Two x Admiralty 3 drum boilersTwo shaft Parsons geared turbines19,000 shp
Speed:27.5 kn (50.9 km/h; 31.6 mph) (26 kn (48 km/h; 30 mph) full)
Range:3,500 nmi (6,480 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h) / 1,000 nmi (2,000 km) at 26 knots (48 km/h)
Complement:146
Armament:4 × QF 4-inch (102 mm) Mark XVI guns on twin mounts Mk. XIX4 × QF 2-pounder (40 mm) Mk VIII AA guns on quad mount MK.VII2 × 20-mm Oerlikon AA guns on single mounts P Mk. III40 depth charges, 2 throwers, 1 rack
source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Exmoor_(L61)