Forgotten Wrecks of the First World War is a Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) four year (2014-2018) project devised and delivered by the Maritime Archaeology Trust to coincide with the centenary of the Great War. At the heart of the project is a desire to raise the profile of a currently under-represented aspect of the First World War. While attention is often focused on the Western Front and major naval battles like Jutland, historic remains from the war lie, largely forgotten, in and around our seas, rivers and estuaries. South Coast wreck sites which include merchant and naval ships, passenger, troop and hospital ships, ports, wharfs, buildings and foreshore hulks are often unrecognised and unprotected and have been degrading and deteriorating due to natural and human processes, for approximately 100 years.
As a result they are extremely fragile and in many cases this project represents a final opportunity to record what remains on the seabed and foreshore before it is lost forever. With over 1,000 wartime wrecks along England’s south coast alone, the conflict has left a rich heritage legacy and many associated stories of bravery and sacrifice. These underwater memorials represent the vestiges of a vital, yet little known, struggle that took place on a daily basis, just off our shores.
With the dedicated work of volunteers who have researched, recorded wrecks and artefacts, wrote reports and worked tirelessly, the Maritime Archaeology Trust is transforming this information into educational resources, exhibits to engage the public, videos, talks and presentations, and touring exhibitions at venues across all six of England’s Southern counties. The final result of this project is an accessible database which will provide information regarding the shipwrecks, associated finds and additional relative information to provide a lasting legacy of information and learning resources relating to the First World War wrecks for future generations.
Find out more about aspects of the project: