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Mark Milburn’s Cornish Wreck Ramblings, Part 4: HMS Anson, a tragedy & saver of lives

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When the HMS Anson hit Loe Bar on Christmas eve in 1807, the conditions and the location made it a certain tragedy. Loe Bar is a shingle bar, that swallows up ships and turns then rapidly into wrecks. There is an unknown number of wrecks along the bar, many were not even witnessed, those that were nearly all ended as a very tragic outcome. The Anson broached to and the ship was to be lost forever, along with a large, but unknown, number of sailors. Two important changes came about because of this tragedy, one of these was the Burial of Drowned Persons Act 1808. The other was a life saving invention by a witness of the wreck, Henry Trengrouse.

Up until this wrecking, any sailors or persons that perished at sea, would be buried in unconsecrated grounds, usually close to the wreck.  The HMS Anson was a British Frigate, yet the sailors who died on her, were still buried on the cliff tops and not within church grounds. A local solicitor drafted a new law, which was presented to parliament by John Tremayne. The law stated any unclaimed bodies of dead persons cast ashore from the sea, should be removed by the church wardens and interred in consecrated grounds. The law was passed in 1808.

The Anson was very close to the shore, yet too far to cast a rope. One of the witnesses to the tragedy, was Henry Trengrouse. He was so upset by the whole event, that he decided to improve the Bell mortar apparatus. His invention was the rocket apparatus, combined with a chair, rather than a cradle. The original design has been upgraded a few times since but it has saved many thousands of lives.

Since the Anson sank, there has been several salvage attempts. Many of the ship’s 24 pounder guns were removed, a few can be seen around the area. Two are at the entrance to Porthleven Harbour, another is outside the Helston Folk Museum and another at RNAS Culdrose. Many more of the guns were recovered but little is known of their whereabouts, if they still exist and have not been scrapped.  There is also  several artefacts from the Anson inside the Helston Folk Museum, as well as a lot of information about Henry Trengrouse.

Today, most of the Anson is buried under the forever shifting shingle of Loe Bar. I recently visited the Anson site, to see what was currently exposed. There is believed to be 13 guns left on the site. After freediving the site for 75 minutes, I found one gun, just showing itself. There was nothing else visible on the site, which is only about 30 metres from shore at low water. This is a very fluid location, one I shall visit on a regular basis, hopefully seeing a lot more of this important wreck one day.

Find out more about Mark and Atlantic Scuba at www.atlanticscuba.co.uk

Mark Milburn is the owner of Atlantic Scuba in Falmouth, Cornwall, England, and is an SDI/TDI/NAS/RYA Instructor and a Commercial Boat Skipper. Although often referred to as a maritime archaeologist, he prefers to call himself a wreck hunter. Find out more about Mark and Atlantic Scuba by visiting www.atlanticscuba.co.uk.

Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Louis Hagger, second place winner of the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-large, chats to Louis Hagger, second place winner of the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition.The See you at the Sea Festival was an online film festival created by young people, for young people.

Louis’ film – Uncovering Cornwall’s Little Known Oceans – can be seen here:

Third in a series of six videos about the competition. Watch the first video HERE with Jenn Sandiford – Youth Engagement Officer with the Your Shore Beach Rangers Project and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust – to find out more about the Competition. Each day this week we will be sharing one video in which Jeff talks with the young contestants about their films and what inspired them.


For more information please visit:

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DAN launches 2021 webinar series

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Divers Alert Network (DAN) has launched a new series of live monthly webinars on its YouTube channel, DAN TV.

Throughout 2021, experts from DAN’s Research, Risk Mitigation, and Medical Services teams will give presentations on topics relevant to divers, dive pros and dive business owners as we look beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and resume diving and traveling.

The 2021 series will begin this Thursday, January 21, at 7:00 p.m. EST, with a webinar by DAN Director of Risk Mitigation Francois Burman titled Emergency Planning: Who Is Responsible for Your Safety? The presentation will cover various mishaps that can occur during diving and travel as well as tips for anticipating, preparing for and successfully managing them.

Future webinars in the series will cover topics including fill station safety, ear barotrauma, DAN research updates, the latest information about COVID-19 and diving, and more. Attendees can look forward to lively 30- to 45-minute presentations followed by questions and discussion.

The webinars will be held on the third Thursday of each month. Keep an eye on the Events page of DAN.org

For more information about upcoming webinars follow DAN on: 

Recorded presentations will remain on DAN’s YouTube Channel.

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