Sunday, 6 March 2011

Holland V Submarine/ Holland 5 Sub & The Lost Torpedo Hatch

Holland 5
The Holland 5 is designated as a Protected Wreck under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973.  TWSAC has very kindly been granted a visitor’s license by English Heritage to dive this historic wreck.
The Holland 5 was the first submarine to be commissioned by the Royal Navy on 19 January 1903, at the same time as the Holland 3.  The Holland 1, 2 and 4 were still being reworked at the time.  The Holland-class submarines had a short life and became obsolete in 1912.
The Holland 5 was being towed to the breakers in Sheerness when she founded 8 August 1912,  Her resting place was near the Royal Sovereign Lighthouse, off Eastbourne.
She was built by Vickers, & Son, Maxin in Barrow-in-Furness, under licence from Holland Torpedo Boat Company at the cost of £35,000.00.  She also had the distinction to be built with the same high grade steel as the Forth Bridge.

Licence holder: Jamie Smith
Of: xxxxxxxxx Cottages
High Street
All diving operations were carried out in accordance with BSAC guidelines and with the consent of Tunbridge Wells Sub Aqua Club’s Diving Officer.
Due to poor weather conditions and the odd boat problem, only two dives were made between 8/12/2009 and 31/10/2010.
Visit One, 15/10/2010
Iain Davis
Julian Attwood
Robert King
Jamie Smith
Boat used:
RIB of the Tunbridge Wells Sub Aqua Club
Visibility: 6 meters
Dive one was conducted on 15/10/2010. The purpose of the dive was to confirm the position of the wreck and to determine how difficult it would be to shot the wreck. We found and shot the wreck with ease. All this was in preparation to lead a diving party on 17/10/2010.
A short search was made for the missing torpedo hatch, which was not located. What looked like one of the hydroplanes was found approx 8 meters directly in front of the submarine bows. An amount of trawl net and lines lay around the submarine.
Visit Two, 17/10/2010
Iain Davis
Julian Attwood
Robert King
Dawn Menzies
Simon Lane
Jamie Smith
Tad Taberer
Chris Pasco
Ernie Benson
Paul Williams
Derrick Scott
Geoff Mulligan
The RIB belonging to Tunbridge Wells Sub Aqua Club
The hard boat, "My Sharon", a Lochin 32.
Visibility: 4 meters
Purpose: site visit
The RIB was sent on ahead, due to its faster speed. We were to set up the site and start diving as soon as it was slack enough on the neap tide; this would ensure that the RIB divers were finished on the arrival of the slower boat. This would keep the amount of divers on the wreck at one time to a minimum.
Our rebreather diver, Simon Lane, was sent off to search the sea bed for any clues to the missing hatch. He dived for a duration of 74 minutes (including 12 minutes of decompression) but did not locate the hatch.
There was a lump of wreckage some 50 yards due south of the Holland 5: this turned out to be a pile of wire rope. It can be located on the echo sounder.

                                                 Torpedo Hatch Locking Bolt,Broken

Special attention was given to the area where the torpedo hatch was originally located. It would appear that, one way or another, the hatch was torn from its mounting. The hinge pin, which I believe was brass, has gone with the hatch. The rod that lifted and closed the hatch was, in my opinion, broken off, not cut. I do not know whether this has any significance to the loss of the hatch or not. The torpedo hatch locking bolt had lost its locking end; this may have been lost in the past as the hatch has been slightly open for some time.

                                                    Torpedo Hatch Lever Bar Broken

                                                          Torpedo Hatch Pin Broken

                                                     Torpedo Hatch Pin,Broken

There has been quite a lot press surrounding the loss of the hatch, while English Heritage think it most probable that the hatch was taken by divers, they have not ruled out, being lost by trawling.  

I would like to take this chance to thank English Heritage for letting us dive this historic wreck. This is much appreciated and enjoyed by all of those who got to see her.


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