SS Thistlegorm

Just as I put my head under the water, start looking into the deep, somewhere down there is laying a piece of history, an old friend… Years ago I was diving here and now, after I saw many wrecks in the seas still being excited just as the first time I was diving here.

I’m closing my nose, equalizing the pressure in my ears while continue into the deep, my buddy few meters away of me, around us silence and half-light. The instruments are showing I’m 15m deep, 20m and just in the next moments the wreck appears from the deep.

Taking a deep breath from my oxygen, few more meters and I’m on the bottom of the sea. 32m deep, the huge wreck in front of my face, around laying several boxes with munition.

As many divers dis, I do clean as well the bottom of a big missile, the manufacturing date is clearly visible, 1929. For me this is like knocking on the door because in a few moments I’m already inside of her body.

I think we cannot understand the force of the huge explosion, caused by the bomb of the Heinkel HE11 aircraft. What a force must to be to open the steel body of a more than 120m long ships, to catapult in the air steam locomotive and armored heavy tank before they sunk into the deep? Short time after the explosion the ship sunk as well, taking the life of 9 men from 41. It was the 6th of October, 1941 half past one in the night.

After that more than 10 years no one knew about the wreck until was discovered by J.Y. Cousteau. After he made notice of the exact position of the wreck and was diving several times to, without making it too popular (even if there was an article with pictures in the National Geographic 1956 February) he abandoned the wreck.

I’m floating over the cargo of the ship, Ford trucks, weapons, and Bristol Blenheim aircraft spare parts, while a moray is swimming towards like a snake, all kind of ammo, motorcycles.

All this was for the allied forces deployed in Egypt; the ship started its last journey on the 2nd of June, 1941. from Glasgow. Due to the massive presence of the German U-boats and planes in the Mediterranean, the captain decided to go around the whole African continent. There was only the last part of the long journey to be done, to cross the Suez Canal. Because due to an accident happened earlier those days the Canal was not free, the captain decided to wait in the open sea till they can continue. This is where it was discovered by the two German bombers while on their way back from a not completed mission. As the pilots saw the ships waiting, they chose the biggest one. The weapons of the ship were shooting millions of missile direction of the German plans, both of them were hit several times but still managed to finish the attack and to launch the bomb in the right moment.

I’m swimming towards the wreck; the wagons from the cargo are on their wheels like ready for work, the tank lying on its side.

I’m checking my oxygen, it’s time to star my trip back to the surface. With every meter we make the wreck is disappearing more and more in the deep. Once we are on the surface, floating, waiting for the boat to pick us up, I’m sure only our body is on the surface, our mind is still in the deep, exploring the wreck.

Good bye Thistlegorm!


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