In 2014 Martin and Bryan Jones, divers from Swanage, approached MAT about a newly found wreck they believed to be HMT Arfon, mined off Dorset in 1917 with the loss of 10 of the crew. Until this time a different wreck had been mis-identified as the Arfon. Martin and Bryan feared the newly discovered Arfon wreck was under immediate threat of salvage. While HMT Arfon and crew were lost on military service and the wreck can be considered a ‘war grave’, the exceptional preservation of the vessel, with the majority of fixtures, fittings and contents intact, means it is also a rare heritage asset. MAT advised contacting Historic England to seek designation under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 which, allowing only licenced visits, should protect the site from disturbance, preserving its heritage value while also protecting any maritime graves from disturbance. Historic England moved quickly to designate the site which became a Protected Wreck in August 2016.
The Maritime Archaeology Trust worked with the team who discovered the Arfon and Historic England, to record the remains and create an online wreck tour which enables people to virtually navigate their way around the wreck on the seabed, while learning about the vessel, its loss, subsequent discovery and protection:
You can view more 3D models of other First World War sites and wrecks here.