Sunday, November 09, 2008

Nautical Archaeolgy Society Honours Project

I am delighted to announce the Meridian Divers Adopt-A-Wreck Project on the Steamship T R Thompson has been awarded the "Runner Up" certificate in the annual national NAS award. The award was announced at the NAS Annual Conference held in the Historic Dockyard at Portsmouth . For full details and photographs visit the link below:-

Meridian Divers were presented with an engraved wine decanter as a sign of the NAS recognition.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thompson One Name Study (2)

The following comment (on a post of the same title) is reproduced here for convenience:-

Thank you very much for publishing this material - you have things in the blog that I wasn't aware of, although I think I was aware of the ship that carried his name. It is good to know that it is not yet forgotten. Best regards Michael Thompson

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Johannes LOHS ~ Grave

An early post on this blog (16/5/2004) states LOHS is buried Vlissingen, Holland. Some further enquiry shows that Vlissingen was NOT his FINAL resting place.

I recently received the following information from Mr A Meerman, the Town Archivist for Vlissingen:-

In 1918 Johannes LOHS, in German records registered as Johannes Oswald LOSZ, commander of the German submarine U.B. 57, was buried inVlissingen in 1918.

From the same submarine were buried in Vlissingen, Julius Eduard Hans Luis SCHEELE and Friedrich Karl Wilhelm BLUMENBERG.

During the Second World War the Germans moved their graves to the new cemetary in Vlissingen to be joined with the German soldiers who died during WW2.

In 1949 all German soldiers, buried in Vlissingen were moved to the German Cemetary in Ysselsteyn in the Dutch province of Limburg. The address is: German War Cemetary, Ysselsteyn , Timmermannsweg , AM Ysselsteyn.

I am indebted to Mr Meerman for this information.

Click Here to view general images of the German War Cemetary

The military cemetery can be found in Ysselsteyn, Netherlands, in the Province of Limburg close to the German border. The cemetery is the only German military cemetery in the whole Netherlands. 85 killed soldiers from the First World War and almost 32.000 from the Second World War are buried here on a territory of 28 hectares. For each killed soldier one cross has been placed. The data (name, grave location, dates of birth and death, rank - if known) have been written on the crosses with white colour.

My command of the German language is negligible but the German War Graves Commission has a record of LOHS which states :-

Johannes Lohs ruht auf der Kriegsgräberstätte in Ysselsteyn (Niederlande) .Endgrablage: Block C Grab 70

I take this to mean his memorial is in Block C , Grave 70 of the Ysselteyn Cemetary.

Click here to view the record (in German)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Adopt-A-Wreck Award Applicants

The T R Thompson Project Team are delighted to announce that they have (at long last) submitted an application to the Adopt-A-Wreck Award scheme operated by the Nautical Archaelogy Society.

A multi-media computer based application (Four Copies) has been sent to the NAS HQ at Fort Cumberland, Portsmouth ( where a number of the Team completed their NAS training) . The application represensts a lot of work conducted over the last four years. The closing date for applications is 1 September . Winners & Runners-Up will be presented Awards at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on Saturday 8th November.

Whatever the judges decision the project has provided us all with an immense interest which has not only raised the profile of the Wreck and it's history but also acted as a catalyst for divers to go diving , to go to new places, meet new people and in some cases add highly memorable moments to their and our lives.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Summary of the Loss of UB57

After sinking the City of Brisbane, the UB-57 headed for home in Zeebrugge, Belgium. During the journey, having first checked that the horizon was clear, she started to surface to run on diesels and recharge her batteries. Upon surfacing, Lohs opened the hatch to find himself almost directly beneath a low-flying British airship. A crash dive was immediately ordered, but they had been spotted and the airship started dropping bombs. Fortunately, they evaded sinking and continued their journey home.

On 14 August 1918, Lohs radioed to base that he had sunk 15,000 tons of shipping and was returning to base. That night he started through the narrow and swept straits of Dover. Nothing more was ever heard from him but it is likely that he hit a mine near Zeebrugge. Lohs' body and those of some of his crew were washed up near the mouth of the river Scheldt about one week later. Lohs was one of the Imperial Navy's war heroes, having sunk an impressive seventy-six merchant ships and one warship, a total of 148,677 tons. During World War II, one of the U-boat flotillas operating from France was named in his honour.

Johannes Lohs ~ UB57 Commander

Johannes Lohs has his Wikipedia Page ( with much shared data that is also on .

The website now carries a section that relates to World War I, UB57 and the T R Thompson feature in their records.

View their WWI content via :- or

Click here to visit the page on the T R Thompson

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Leslie Francis Jack ~ Memorial

In Loving Memory Andrew Jack , Master Mariner , drowned in the wreck of S.S. George Royle on Sheringham Shoal. Jan 18 1915 , Aged 45 Years. Faithful to Duty.

Leslie Francis son of the above drowned off Beachy Head through ????????????? Aged 16 Years.
[From Mr Norman Jack]

TR Thompson ~ Ships Plans

TR Thompson ~ Ships Plans
Click to Enlarge
[Info from Alf Rodenby]

The Ship's Master ~ William Shewan

A hand written record states the Master was William Shewan late of the "Gladas Royal" which was also sunk. The "Gladas Royal" was a similar / identical ship to the TR Thompson.

Photograph of a painting of the "Gladas Royal"
[Info from Alf Rodenby]

Survivors Employments

A hand written note on a copy of the ships plans says " This Steamer was sunk by a mine or torpedo off Beachy Head on 29th March 1918. All hands were lost with the exception of an Apprentice, Sailor & Gunner who were picked up after several hours in the water"

Another (printed) record states "Torpedoed and sunbk by the German Submarine UB57 at 3.45am three survivors were picked-up who were landed in Dover, the master being amongst those lost. Wreck lies in averahe depth of 30m on even keel oroientated E/W with the bow to the E. The Stern is intact but gun has fallen into the hull, her superstructure collapsed.

[Info from Alf Rodenby]

This ties in with the post of June 28th 2008 "TRT Survivors" (below) which names the survivors as :-

Apprentice - Alex Hardy Finnie b.1900 Aberdeen
Sailor - H Price (ABS)
Gunner - John Daly 27 years (b.1891?) of 58 Chapel Street, Newry

Ship Specifications ~ All that for £32,000!

T R Thompson: Port No 10, Date 3/5/1897, Built Sunderland. Builder Short Brothers of Pallion, Yard No 258, Launched 5/3/1897.

A steel screw steamer , one deck, two mast , schooner rigged, Elliptical sterned Clincher built. Fitted with a Billet head, L360', B47.2' D 24.6' Tonnage underdeck 3306.22, Poop 88.42, Forcastle 47.45, Bridge space Port 19.67, Starborad side House 22.49, lockers two on bridge space 2.62, chart house 10.31, Excess to Hatchway 41.00, Gross Tonnage 3538.18, deductions per contra 1277.12, Registered tonnage 2261.06, Engine builder John Dickinson of Sunderland. Tri Compound Dia of Cylinders 24.5,40, 66, 45 HP 300 WHP 1HP 1500 Two Boiles 1601PS. Length of engine room 47.7' Purchase Price £32,000, named after the companys agent and large shareholder in Westolls Ships. Owner James Westoll of 13 john Street, Sunderland. Designated Managing Owner . Advice under his own hand, received 3/6/97

Monday, August 18, 2008

Deteriorating Wreck

Propellor / Rudder Area 2006

Propellor / Rudder Area 2008

Upright ribs on stern 2007

Ribs hanging off stern 2008

Looking back over some of the video images taken this year it is easy to see how much the stern of the wreck is deteriorating. There are now no upright ribs on the stern with large areas now collapsed. You also used to be able swim through the rudder and propeller gap but now the hull has collapsed over the port side which prevents a clear swim through. The images above show these changes

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Sketch Plan of Beni Saf Port

Port of Beni Saf , Algeria (click to enlarge)
The plan indicates the water inside the harbour is 9m deep.

Beni Saf, Algeria in the 21st Century

I little googling has turned up a 'modern' video of Beni Saf, Algeria (the port at which the TR Thompson loaded iron ore before it's fateful journey back to the UK). I don't think the quality of the images is quite up to our own videographer's work but nevertheless it does give view of the place this century!

Click HERE to go to You Tube and the video!

Beni Saf , Algiers ~ The TRT's Cargo Collecting Destination

For more information on the Algerian port & town of Beni Saf , click HERE. Lots of background detail!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Mr Thomas Roe Thompson

T R Thompson

The Barry Dock & Railways Company

Directors of the Barry Dock & Railways Company at time of opening of Barry No1 Dock 18th July 1889:-

Lord Windsor - Chairman
David DAvies - Deputy Chairman
J Corey
E Davies
P L Davies
L Gurrett
A Hood
J W Insole
E W Perks
J H Thomas
T R Thompson
E H Watts

In 1891 the Barry Dock and Railways Company changed it's name to the Barry Railway Company.


On Thursday 18th July 1889 the new Barry Dock was opened for traffic. Mrs Lewis Davis of Ferndale performed the task of opening the dock by cutting the ribbon. The first vessel to enter the dock was the SS Arno (Sunderland) in tow of the tug Levant and steered by T R Thompson one of the Directors.

The Barry Dock and Engineering Co. Limited 1891

The Barry Dock And Engineering Co., Limited(INCORPORATED UNDER THE COMPANIES ACT) CAPITAL, £ 110,000, in 11,000 £10 Shares of which 10,000 have been issued and fully paid up, and the remaining shares are unallotted and reserved for future requirements. DEBENTURES, £50,000, bearing interest at the rate of 41/2per cent. Per annum, having been subscribed for.
The UNDERTAKING consists of a Graving Dock, with all its equipment, at Barry, constructed on about 4 1/2 acres of land, which has been leased to the Company by the Barry Dock and Railways Company, for the term of 99 years, at a ground rent of £750 per annum. The DOCK is one of the largest in Great Britain, being 732 feet in length and 113 feet 7 inches in width, with a width at the entrance of 60 feet, and can be divided by means of a caisson into two parts, so that four or more ships can be accommodated at once.
The UNDERTAKING is equipped in the most complete manner with large and substantial repairing and fitting shops, with all the most modem and efficient machinery, so as to enable the company to carry on every branch of Shipbuilding, Shiprepairing, and Foundry Work under conditions unsurpassed by any similar Company. The only Graving Dock accommodation yet provided for the shipping frequenting Barry is that provided by this Company.
The Directors are the sole holders of four fifths of the shares issued, and they are under covenant neither directly or indirectly to interest themselves in any similar undertaking in Barry. Mortgage Debentures have been issued upon the Undertaking to the extent of £50,000, bearing interest at the rate of 41/2per cent. Per annum
Directors :
T.R.THOMPSON, Shipowner, Cardiff
L. WOOD. Colliery Proprietor, Cardiff.
E.C.BREGEON, Shipowner, Cardiff.
J.R.CHRISTIE. Shipowner, Cardiff,
L. GUERET. Shipowner, Cardiff.
EDMUND HANDCOCK, Shipowner, Cardiff.
THOMAS MOREL, J.P. Shipowner, Cardiff.
JAMES WARE, J.P. Shipowner, Cardiff.
JOHN GUTHRIE, LP. Shipowner, Cardiff.
MARK MORDEY, Ship and Dry Dock Owner, Newport.
SolicitorsMessrs. DOWNING & HANDCOCK, Cardiff
Barry Dock.General ManagerJOHN LOWDON,
C.E First Published In : Barry Dock & Time Table Year BookCompiled by Lewis Lewis 1891


Thomas Roe Thompson ~ Final Resting Place

A picture of St Dochdwy's Church in Penarth, the final resting place of Thomas Roe Thompson , shareholder in the SS T R Thompson and likely to be the person that the ship is named after.

Thompson One Name Study

The TRT Project blog posting of May 31st 2004 (see archives) refers to work undertaken by Michael Thompson the great great great grandson of Matthew Thompson who was born in 1816 and died in 1864.

The Thompson One Name Study is now available HERE!

Plenty of useful information on the link, such as:-

Thomas Roe Thompson was born on 6 February 1846 in Sunderland and died on 13 April 1919 of senile decay. He married Mary Elizabeth Evans who died 25 May 1906. Both are buried at St Dochdwy's, Llandough, Penarth. He was High Sheriff of Glamorgan in 1899 and was a Justice of the Peace as well as a Ship Owner

1881: 3 church Road, Penarth
1919: 123 Stanwell Road Penarth (Click Here to Google Map View)

Family details:-
His father: was Matthew Thompson went to Cardiff from Sunderland in 1856 and set up business as a shipbroker.

His wife was Mary Elizabeth Evans. (b.circa 1846. d 25/5/1906)

Children were :-
Florence Dorbon Thompson, b. circa
Amy Thompson,
Lavinia Thompson, b, circa 1869
Emily Thompson, b. circa 1871
Gwendoline Mary Thompson, b. circa 1873
Bertha Thompson, b. circa 1876
Thomas (Tom) Roe Thompson, b.circa 1878, m. 24/9/1908 Dorethea Hancock (b.11/11/1879) their son was Graeme Thomas Roe (b. 31.8.1909 d. 21.10.68). Graeme Thomas Roe married Dora Bridget Gladstone (b.31 Aug 1907 d.11 July 1993) on 16/7/1932
Dorothy Thompson , b circa 1880

Thompson Street, Barry Docks

The Project Team are indebted to Simon Wales for the loan of two books by Brian C Luxton on the history of Barry, South Wales. One of these books contains a print of Thompson Street, Barry Docks with the text :-

"General view of Thompson Street looking towards junction with Holton Road . The Street was named after Thomas Roe Thompson (d.1919) a native of Sunderland who was a director of the Barry Dock & Railway Company. Demolished 1972, it's heyday was prior to the Great War"

Norman and Mary Jack at The T.R.Thompson Dinner

After the fabulous but quite emotional day and Dive on the T.R.Thompson Norman and Mary Jack were guests of Honour at a dinner held in their honour in Alfriston.

Norman gave an emotional speech and was presented with a framed photo of the T.R.Thompson signed by all of the Meridian Divers.

Photos courtesy of Ian Barefoot from the N.A.S

Meridian Divers A Day and A Dive to Remember with Mr Norman Jack and The BBC

Saturday, July 26, 2008

BBC Film TRT Relative on Trip out to the wrecksite

Here is the Link to a very special dive on the T.R.Thompson we were joined by Mr Norman Jack who is a relative to Lesley Francis Jack who died when the ship was sunk in 1918, Lesley was 16.

Once again we were joined by a film crew and reporter John Young from BBC South East to follow up their earlier report back in April when we did the 90th anniversary dive.

Watch the BBC Coverage of the Dive here!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

TRT Survivors

We still have work to do on crew lists and data from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (and elsehwere!) that said re-examining the documents we have, the following names from appear to be likely candidates for TRT survivors:-

1. J Daley (or Dailey) a Gunner from Newry
2. Alex Hardy Finnie an Apprentice born 1900 in Aberdeen
3. H Price an Able-Bodied Seaman
4. A Mahamed (or Mohammed)

Of course, records indicate that there were only THREE Survivors.

T R Thompson ~ Descriptive Data

Built in 1897 by Short Brothers Sunderland
Registered - Sunderland , Official Number 106417
Makers No. 258
Gross Tonnage 3538
Net Tonnage 2261
Length 360ft
Width 47.2ft
Draught 24.6ft
No of Decks 1
No of Masts 2
Schooner Rigged
Stern elliptical

Steel Single Screw
Length of engine room 47.7ft
Triple expansion engine, 3 boilers with diamteres of 24in,40in,66in.
301 NHP
Length of stroke 45ft
Engines built by John Dickinson & Sons , Sunderland
Built to carry a crew of 43
1st Captain - R Eggleton
Owned by J Westoll , 13 John Street, Sunderland
Signal Letters PQRN

Info via Andy N , some is shown elsewhere on this blog.

T R Thompson Shareholders

In May 1897 there were 64 shares in the TRT , these were held by:-

35 James Westoll
16 Thomas Roe Thompson
6 John Young Short (of Short Brothers)
2 James Addison
2 Cuthbert Hutchinson
2 George Alan (Minister of the Gospel)
1 Magnus Miles (Maritime Surveyor)

Info via Andy N - Source not recorded.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Kew Records

More info from Ray Buck:-

The Official Number for the "T R Thompson" is 106417, the last crew agreement ( If it has survived ) will be in the TNA Kew

Follow the request this link giving ships ON and details of what you require.

Ted Finch has drawn our attention to the following guide to using Kew, thank you Ted, :-

Canadian Records ~ Official Number 106417

I am gratfeul to Ray Buck who sent the following information:-

There is a reference to a crew agreement and ships log held in Canada for the same year (Not sure if this is the same log) usually if it is still in Kew then it will not have been sent to Canada) it may be worth enquiring at both.

This information may link with the series of Crew Agreements traced to Canada by Andy N

Thomas Lewis Hargest ~ Third Engineer


One of the Crew mentioned who died aboard the SS T R Thompson was the Third engineer Thomas Lewis Hargest.

I will be writing up a memorial soon on my Hargest/Hergest One Name Study to all Hargest's killed during World War I.

As I have been for the last few years been researching the Genealogical History of the Hargest & Hergest families since the 1400's.

Best regards

Adam Hargest
Hargest/Hergest One-Name Studies
Registered with the Guild of One Name Studies 4334

Thomas Towler ~ Marconi Marine Wireless Operator

I am grateful for the follwoing informaton from George V Monk :-

"My Colleague and I have produced a Memorial Register of all the Marconi Marine Wireless Operators who were killed in WWI.

I thought you would like to know of the entry we have for:-

TOWLER, Thomas, Aged 27"

Thomas Towler was a member of the crew who lost his life when the TRT sank. I will enquire with George to see if his register is on-line.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

TRT Bell

Photo of TRT Bell kindly donated by Paul and the Negligent Snail from The YD forum. Not sure if this is the same Bell that is pictured earlier on in the Blog as rumour has it there were 3 bells on the wreck. Perhaps someone could clarify this.
The TRT is the big one at the back in case you cant read it.

But what a nice collection

T.R.Thompson Dinner 22nd July

At the meeting last night I was asked to put a list on the blog for people wanting to come to the T.R.Thompson dinner on the evening of July 22nd

As discussed it looks like the Golden Galleon near Seaford will be the restaurant of choice plus the name has a nautical theme which is very appropriate.

The booking will need to be confirmed asap so I will need numbers pretty quickly. Please add a comment or contact me direct to be added.

The meal is open to all who wish to come along whether you have been involved in the project, past, present or not involved, or if you are just interested, it doesn't matter as it will be a great social and fun evening, all will be made very welcome so the more the merrier.

Lets make the evening a big success for the family

For the current list of people going see our sister blog

Friday, June 20, 2008

New Readers!

Please scroll down and use the 'Labels for quick reference' on the right-hand side of the blog to help navigate around the project nformation .

Part 2 Meridian Divers Dive T.R.Thompson 16th June

Part 2 of Mondays dive on the T.R.Thompson.
Heading fowards past the engines to the Bows which we didnt get to because we ran out of time. Not so much of the wreck intact here but still very scenic.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Meridian Divers on a Great Dive to the SS T.R.Thompson

Part 1 of video Highlights showing Meridian Divers diving the wreck of the T.R.Thompson 16th June 2008 in superb conditions although the video doesnt do the dive justice Video This clip shows the Engine Prop, Rudder, Gun, spare prop blade Bulkheads

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

T.R.Thompson Dive 16th June 2008

I had my week planned out for me but that all changed on Sunday when the phone rang. Steve from Channel Diving calling to say that he had just taken a group out to the T.R.T and the Viz was amazing, he had 5 places going for tomorrow(Monday) and thought it may be a good idea to get my backside down to Brighton nice and early and get some Video of the T.R.T in such good conditions. (Good marketing Steve)

After quick group text to other MD'ers it transpired that most couldn't get the time off at such short notice with the exception of Andy N and as I was owed sometime a quick buzz back to Steve saw 2 places booked.

A bright and early 6.30am start got me down to Brighton Marina with time to spare and was joined shortly after by Andy. Sarah also made an appearance as she had booked her annual Channel Diving jamboree this week.

Steve had obviously had success in filling the remaining places as the boat was now full ( doesn't anybody work) Soon it was ropes off and the journey out to the T.R.T began.We arrived at the wreck exactly on slack with everybody kitted up and ready to go. It never ceases to amaze me how organised it all is when diving from Steve's boat, everything runs like clockwork nice, simple, straight forward and no fuss.

On entering the water I was a little confused about where I was diving the water was clear and very blue not the normal green English Channel we all love. Divers descending 15m below could be clearly seen and i knew this was going to be a classic TRT dive.We were not disappointed,very soon the wreck appeared below us and we were still descending.Shoals of of bib & pollack covered the TRT like a living carpet, divers could be seen all over the wreck and it was almost like dives I had done on the Thistlegorm in the Red Sea, it was that good.

With the camera rolling Andy and I got to work capturing as much footage as possible.With the visibility so good it was possible to see large areas of the wreck for the first time in context and I was shocked at how much the T.R.T had deteriorated even over the past year.The stern is now collapsing at an alarming rate with a huge section on the port side now collapsed over the prop. The Gun has moved again and is now is a slightly different position to what it was last year.

The TRT is over a 100 years old and has been lying on the seabed for over 90 years so it is to be expected that the old girl is losing her looks a bit like an aging hollywood star, but far more interesting. I still find it very sad that within a short period of time I expect the stern will collapse totally.
We continued our dive across the wreck and even though she is crumbling fast I still find her very beautiful and still a fantastic dive. With our personal connections with the wreck through the N.A.S project and the relative we are now in contact with and the conditions we were diving in today made this dive on her even more special to me.

As the motto on Steves diver lift says" time and tide wait for no man or woman " it was soon time to head back to the surface and I must say I was very reluctant to do so but we had already incurred a small deco penalty, so with the now traditional wave goodbye to our old freind we started our ascent back to a very different, less tranquil world.

Back on board Channel Diver the decks were a buzz, every diver raving about the dive, with one couple saying it was the best dive they had ever done in UK waters. I also managed to get a call in to Mr Jack the T.R.T crew relative whilst over the site and talk to him about the dive. We will be seeing him on the 22nd July and weather permitting, he will be out on the boat himself.

Our second dive was on the Palace pier and even though that is a very pretty dive I would have still preferred to have been back down on the T.R.T.

I will start to edit the video footage over the next couple of days and post it on the Blog. Skipper Steve after previewing the footage wants a copy to have on Channel Diver to show groups he takes out to the wreck on his wheel house DVD player which is a nice touch and will hopefully raise the profile of the wreck even more.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Meeting With James Westoll Line Expert

With all the work on the T.R.Thompson project recently I had been put in contact with a gentleman called Alf Rodenby (above) . Alf is an expert on the James Westoll Line the owners of the T R Thompson. Today I had a chance to meet him and his wife at their home in Leicestershire. I was given a tour of his extensive collection of photos paintings and research. Alf has a wide knowledge not just of the Westoll Line but all Sunderland owned ships and has offered his help where he can with our project.

I will give a full report of our meeting at the next MD bash .

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Relatives Contacts 2 & 3

I have just got off the phone from a relative of two of the survivors of the T R Thompson sinking after the BBC had forwarded the family details to Meridian Divers.

The relatives Great Grand Father and Great Great Grand Father both managed to escape the ship along with one other crew member as the ship went down. They survived by holding on the part of the wreckage that was left floating after the ship was sunk and were saved by a trawler who arrived on the scene later.

I have put this relative in contact with our other original contact and will be speaking to him again in a few days time.

I now have also been in contact with a gentleman who has written a book on the Westoll Line and happens to know everything there is to know about the company and its ships including the T.R.Thompson and also has personal commections with the company.

It is also happens that next week I am at a meeting in Leicestershire 3 miles from where this gentleman lives so have made arrangements to visit him. Will feed back afterwards.

The project is growing by the day.


Friday, April 25, 2008

T.R.Thompson project update

Will give a full update on the project Monday evening at the meeting but I had a phonecall this morning from the relative who we are now in contact with after the recent BBC coverage.He is sending more info on the Thompson and Westoll line. Amongst this info will be something exciting, which I wont go into now but obviously will share on Monday.

This information will add to the growing portfolio of the history of the wreck its crew and the owners J Westoll and will enable us to finally start putting together some kind of booklet,DVD on the wreck and the project.

Exciting times ahead watch this space.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

T.R.Thompson on BBC Local History Web Site

BBC Wear have been kind enough to put the Meridian Divers and T.R.Thompson Project blogs on their local history website along with a brief account of the ship. Their web pages features a selection of images taken of the wreck by Meridian Divers Clicking on the link below will take you there:-

Monday, April 14, 2008

Biographical Info on Lohs & UB 57 ~ Channel Hunter

This information from :-

Lohs was born in June 1889 in Saxony and entered the Imperial Navy in 1909. In 1915, he was assigned to the U-75, where he served as a weapons officer, before finally receiving command of the UC-75 in 1917. After a successful stint, he was given command of the UB-57.

If you visit the site you can read the article which I believe was taken from a book called the Channel Hunter.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Another Westoll Line ship off of Sussex?

Just discovered that there is a possible sister ship of the T.R.T sunk off the coast of Hastings.
I say possible because there appears to be some confusion with this wreck.

Some reports say that this is the SS Umber sunk on 30th April 1918 otherwise known as the gun wreck but other reports say it could be the Roecliff .
My thoughts are that it must be called the gun wreck for a reason but if you look at the date the Roecliff sank there would have been no reason I can think of for the ship to be armed.

James Westoll; 1894; Short Bros.; 3,263 tons; 315- 7x45-1 X16-2; 286n.h.p.; triple-expansion engines.The British cargo ship Roecliff sank after a collision off Hastingson June 4th, 1897. She was carrying a cargo of grain from Odessa to Hamburg.

Looks like a bit of investigation may be in order.

Has anyone who reads this blog dived this wreck

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

T.R.Thompson Look-a-Like ?

Whilst trying to track down more info on the T.R.T, I came across this picture of the Westburn.
The Westburn was a British steamship built in 1893 by Short Brothers at Sunderland, England for the James Westoll line. She was 351 feet in length and 3,300 tons with a speed of 7 knots. Does this sound familiar?
This looks almost identical to the TRT

The better quality photo enables us to see what the T.R.T would have looked like.

The Westburn is sunk just outside Santa Cruz harbour in Tenerife in about 30m.

I can almost feel a trip coming on


Monday, April 07, 2008

T.R.Thompson Commemorative Dive 3rd March 2008

After a very early start to get to Brighton Marina for 7am to meet the other Meridian Divers and BBC crew, I wasn't hopeful that underwater conditions would make the T.R.Thompson commemorative dive a particularly good one especially after all the recent bad weather.

On leaving the Marina aboard Steve Johnson's spacious Channel Diving hard boat, the surface conditions looked perfect, although the sky was a little dark and overcast. With nearly an hours trip out to the wreck site there was plenty of time to chat to the BBC crew about the TRT project and what we are trying to achieve and also check our equipment.

The gods were smiling as we arrived at the wreck site and the sky brightened with the clouds parting it had become almost a perfect day.

Any of you who have dived with Channel Diving before know Steve is an expert when it comes to placing the shot on the wreck with perfect precision you tell him where you want it and he places it exactly there with no fuss.

Looking into the water waiting for slack tide we could see the shotline disappearing into the depths which promised, surprisingly some visibility.

After kitting up it was time to enter the water and as always with my first sea dive of the year there were a few butterflies, but on hitting the water and starting the journey down to the wreck they soon disappeared.

I was diving with Sara and Jim from East Sussex Fire Brigade who had joined us for the day.

On reaching the wreck we were surprised that although dark we had at least 2-3m viz and looking up you could see daylight which was a pleasant and unexpected surprise.The TRT couldn't show us all her glory today but we could see enough of the wreckage to make the dive worthwhile and we did pick out a massive capstan . I had taken the video camera down but wasn't expecting any success but later BBC footage clearly showed the the capstan and other bits of wreckage.

All too soon it was time to head for the surface and say goodbye to the T.R.T and the ghosts of her crew with a promise we will be back again soon to continue to tell their story.

Dive stats

Total dive time 32 minutes
Max depth 32.6m
Water temp 9.c
Viz 2-3m with torches

Jim H
Jim (ESFB)

Safety Diver Chris P


Sunday, April 06, 2008

T.R.Thompson Relative

After the BBC showed the T.R.Thompson report on their Look North Programme I was contacted by a descendant of Lesley Frances Jack (17 years) who was an apprentice on the T.R,T at the time she sank. Lesley was killed during the sinking.

I have arranged to speak to Mr Jack's relative next week to get further information but he has told me that Lesley's father who was a master of a ship also died on a ship run by the Westoll line who owned the T.R.T

The story continues and I will post more info as soon as I have it.


Saturday, April 05, 2008

Contact Made with T.R.Thompson Seaman Relative

After footage of the TRT dive was shown on BBC Look North lunchtime and evening programmes a relative of a crew member who lost their life on the T.R.T. has contacted Meridian Divers

The TRT project has always regarded finding a relative as an important objective and now with help from the BBC we have.More details shortly.

Watch this space


BBC T.R.Thompson coverage South East edition

Friday, April 04, 2008

Contacting the T.R.Thompson Group

If you have come to this site due to the recent radio and TV coverage of the T.R.Thompson N.A.S project and can provide or would like further information on the T.R.Thompson please leave a comment with a way to contact you. The comments are moderated by the blog author so no personal infromation will be shown on the blog before posting.
We will then get back to you as soon as possible

Thank you
Meridian Divers

Thursday, March 06, 2008

UB57 Shipyard & Sinking

Just found this info on a website called U-Boat finder.
I know we have most of the info on UB 57 but I had a scan through the T.R.T archives and there are a couple of references that havent been logged so logging it all again

A.G. Weser, Bremen (Werk 269)
Ordered 20 May, 1916
Laid down 13 Sep, 1916
Launched 20 Jun, 1917
Commissioned 30 Jul, 1917
Commanders 3 Jul, 1917 - 1 Jan, 1918 Kptlt. Otto Steinbrinck
2 Jan, 1918 - 14 Aug, 1918 Oblt. Johannes Lohs
Career 11 patrols 20 Sep, 1917 - 14 Aug, 1918 Flandern I Flotilla

Successes 48 ships sunk for a total of 130.890 tons.10 ships damaged for a total of 58.990 tons.
Fate 14 Aug, 1918 - Mined off the Flanders coast on August 14, 1918. 34 dead (all hands lost).

The bodies of Lohs and several other crewmembers washed ashore on August 22, 1918.
Previously recorded fateThe commonly listed loss position of 51.56N, 02.02E is incorrect.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

The wreck of the T.R.Thompson

Another clip from T.R.T project dive.This one shows the spare prop blade sorry about the lighting.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

T.R.Thompson wreck clip

Another clip from the Meridian divers project Dive video,showing Chris measuring the deck anchor.

These clips are dedicted to the 33 crew who lost their lives when the T.R.Thompson was sunk by uboat during the 1st World War