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Miscellaneous Blogs

Mary Rose Wreck Site Found Fifty Years Ago Today

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Fifty years ago today two divers – John Towse and the late Alexander McKee – pinpointed the whereabouts of King Henry VIII’s famous flagship.

McKee and Towse were members of Southsea BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club).“On May 14, 1966 Alex and myself visited the penultimate resting place of the Mary Rose.” John Towse

Alexander McKee’s widow stated “while we were living in Hamburg, he used to express his interest and admiration for the raising and preservation of Vasa – a Swedish warship – in 1961. I remember he said, ‘I want to make my mark in life.’ He has achieved that.”

John Towse wrote about the useful break that helped to find the ship. John and Alex discovered the location of the Mary Rose whilst looking at charts in Cricklewood. “There laid before Alex and myself was a magnificent hand-drawn chart [by the Deane brothers in 1836] of the approaches to Portsmouth Harbour. In a very short time and prompted by one of the Hydrographic Office staff, the actual charted site of the Mary Rose was clearly shown.”

In 1965 McKee initiated ‘Project Solent Ships’ in conjunction with Southsea BSAC. The aim was to investigate wrecks lost in the Solent. His real quest was to find the Tudor Warship and he was the driving force behind the hunt and discovery of this Tudor Battleship.

Many years of seabed searching followed. Cynics dubbed the wreck ‘McKee’s Ghost Ship’. Between 1968 and 1971 volunteer divers explored the Solent. They used sonar scans and plunged long steel rods into the soft mud until they struck timber. Then the team employed dredgers, water jets and airlifts to excavate a strange shape underneath the seabed. Alex Hildred, curator of the Mary Rose, confirmed that this was the first time that remote sensing technology sub-bottom profiling and side scan sonar had been used in England.Without Alexander McKee’s dedication and pioneering work, it is likely this ship would still be buried beneath the soft Solent mud. John Lippiett, the Rear Admiral who leads the Mary Rose Trust said “The project wouldn’t be what it is today without the foresight and inspiration of Alex and the divers.” (McKee’s stubbornness was later rewarded when he received the OBE for finding the Mary Rose).

“We were very fortunate that on the first dive of the year [5 May 1971] we slightly missed our target – the area that we had been searching. We were about 150 metres to the south. Percy Ackland, who I always called our underwater gun dog, came up and whispered to me, ‘The timbers are down there Margaret [Rule].’” Ackland had found three of the port frames of the Mary Rose. By some miracle half of the hull had been well preserved by Solent mud. It was as though someone had chainsawed through the wreck from bow to stern and the entire starboard side of the Mary Rose survived.

SOURCES

Mary Rose Website
Obituary of Margaret Rule, X-Ray Mag
The Portsmouth News
Culture 24

On 29th August 2014 BBC Radio 4 broadcast ‘The Reunion‘ with Sue MacGregor. Sue reunited some of the members of the team of marine archaeologists, divers and engineers who raised Henry VIII’s sunken battleship Mary Rose from the sea bed in 1982. This link goes to a RAM (Real Audio File) recording of that programme.

Roz is the Founder of The Underwater Marketing Company, Co-founder of EUROTEK, and established TEKDiveUSA. She is a PADI IDC Staff Instructor, a BSAC Advanced Instructor, and a rebreather and Trimix diver. Before moving into the PR field she worked as a full time recreational instructor in the UK and abroad, on History Channel and National Geographic documentaries, as a safety diver, and modelled underwater.

Dive Training Blogs

Dream Dive Locker Build Out. Part I: Demolition (Watch Video)

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It’s finally here! Time to start building the greatest dive locker the world has ever seen! Part I: Demolition! #dreamdivelocker

This is the first of a series of videos showing the evolution of building out my dream dive locker. My dream dive locker needs to be dive gear drying and storage, dry storage, workshop, office, editing suite, You Tube studio and classroom. That’s a lot of functions for a small space!

The first step is planning out the space and demolishing the laminate flooring. Then I taped up the walls to get a feel for the space. We have a lot of work to do!

But finally we will have a purpose built space to house all of our dive equipment! Subscribe to our channel to follow our progress! 

Thanks for watching, Team!

James


Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/DiversReady

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Marine Life & Conservation

The BiG Scuba Podcast… with Paul Rose

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Next in a new series of podcasts shared by our friends Gemma and Ian aka The BiG Scuba Podcast…

Ian and Gemma chat to Paul Rose. A man at the front line of exploration and one of the world’s most experienced divers, field science and polar experts, Paul Rose helps scientists unlock and communicate global mysteries in the most remote and challenging regions of the planet.

He is an experienced television presenter and radio broadcaster. With a proven track record in business engagements, Paul is a sought-after speaker, chairman, host and moderator for industry, government and NGO events.

Former Vice President of the Royal Geographical Society(link is external) and Chair of the Expeditions and Fieldwork Division, Paul is currently Expedition Leader for the National Geographic Pristine Seas Expeditions.

He was the Base Commander of Rothera Research Station, Antarctica, for the British Antarctic Survey for 10 years and was awarded HM The Queen’s Polar Medal. For his work with NASA and the Mars Lander project on Mt Erebus, Antarctica, he received the US Polar Medal.

Paul is a mountain and polar guide leading Greenland Icecap crossing and mountaineering expeditions and polar science support logistics. He worked for four years as a Mountain Safety consultant to the oil industry in the Middle East.

On his 2012 Greenland expedition, Paul led the first expedition to successfully traverse a new 275km icecap route of Knud Rasmussen Land and repeated his first ascent of the north face of Gunnsbjørnfjeld, the highest mountain in the Arctic.

His professional diving work includes science support diving in Antarctica as the British Antarctic Survey’s Institute Diving Officer. He ran the US Navy diver training programme at Great Lakes Naval Training Centre and trained many emergency response dive teams including the Police, Fire Department and Underwater Recovery Teams. He remains a current and active PADI Dive Instructor.

Find out more about Paul Rose at www.paulrose.org


Find more podcast episodes and information at www.thebigscuba.com and on most social platforms @thebigscuba 

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