Finally, after almost a year of work, the Buchan Elle was laanched today c/o Macduff crane hire. We have repaired the jet drive, changed the bearings and seals, replaced the sea cocks and given her a new coating of Coppercoat antifoul. She should be faster and lower maintenance now. Hope to get some work up dives next weekend when the neap tides come through. Really looking froward to it!
Dorothy, daughter of George Clifford Barrett who was lost on the HMS Flotta has sent a picture of the plaque she has created in honour of her father using the ship's makers plate which we sent to her in western Australia. Looks brilliant Dorothy, and thanks for sending the picture of it.
Too windy to launch this weekend, will have to wait until Rog gets back onshore from latest trip. Spent the weekend updating the blog based upon mails received from crew relatives and added a picture of William Cowe, skipper of Adventure II to the site.
After over a year we are ready to relaunch the Buchan Elle. She has been out of the water for a significant service and to replace the ageing anti-foul which was slowing her down (and requiring us to scrub her hull every couple of months). Hope to get her relaunched next weekend and get back into some exploration. Plan to find and dive the Trevorian, revisit the U1206 and spend some time searching for the deeper wrecks further out.
We found the steam trawler Adventure II in 2007 while searching for the uboat U1206. An old "Isles" class steam trawler, lost in 1922 off Cruden Bay when she trawled up a WW1 contact mine. The crew escaped. She lies upright in 71m, a lovely old trawler, fairly intact. We recovered her bell for identification. On Saturday we were able to return the bell to David Cowe, the last surviving grandchild of the skipper, William Cowe. He's has been writing a history of his grandfather and was really touched to receive something tangible from history.
Ernest Lazenby has been in touch. He says:
Hello. I am the grandson of John (actually it is Johannes) Olsen captain of the ship Taylor featured on your web site. I was close to my grandfather who died in 1953 I am 67 years old. I have done a lot of research into his life and have the board of trade papers relating to the public enquiry in to the loss of the ship. Is itpossible for us to communicate by e mail please. I ha ve some questions re the ship, questions arisen out of the enquiry.
Your web site page re the Taylor is of immense interest to me.
Received a lovely note from Carole Leahey, the niece of William Thomas Davies who was on-board the HMT Ormonde when she was lost in February 1941.
I received a link to your website from my daughter who knows that an uncle of mine was aboard the Ormonde, he was William Thomas Davies and was the youngest brother of my late father , I never knew him as I was born in 1948, but we had a framed photograph of him at home in his sailors uniform, his name is on the war memorial in Lowestoft , we have visited it as we now live in East Anglia area,although we are from Liverpool which is where Uncle Bill was obviously from , he was I'm told a talented player of the accordion and on one of his last visits home entertained all on the Mersey Ferry on the way home from a day out . It was really interesting to read the account and sad to know that there were no survivors not surprising on such a small ship. It must have been heartbreaking for my grandmother who also lost some cousins on the Benares 2 children aged 5 and 9 on the way to 'safety in Canada' but the ship was torpedoed. I have read the account in a book by Ralph Barker called Children of the Benares. Thanks for all your obvious hard work,
Nick Lindsay was in touch with us through the website to inform us that whilst he was researching an airman's death in Clyne parish (Brora is the main village), he came across the death certificate for Seaman Neville Sadd of HMS Flotta. His body washed up on Kintradwell beach, around 2 miles north of Brora (actually in the south end of the neighbouring parish of Loth) on Nov 29th. It must have taken around 3 weeks for his body to drift on the currents from Boddam to the east Sutherland coast. He was interred at Rosskeen burial ground, near Invergordon.
(photograph below kindly identified by Nancy Whyte)
Chief Eng. X6114 E.S. George Clifford "Cliff" Barrett was lost when the HMS Flotta foundered in November 1941. His daughter, Dorothy, was born in 1942 so never knew him. For years she had been trying to find out any information she could concerning the Flotta but without any luck, until she found our site. She got in touch and we were able to arrange for the makers plate, which we recovered for identification purposes, to be sent to her in Western Australia where she has lived since 1970.
Matthias Wenzlaff has been in touch. His grandfather was the Erwin Schmidt, Obermachinist. He says:
Hello over there....
my grandfather was "Obermaschinist" on U 1206.. and i'am really interessed in everthing about the boat. When i was 15 or maybe 16 years old, he told me the story about his time in war.. i cant belive you found his boat..! I found an older version of your homepage.. and wrote and email to Roger.. well, after that i found out that you have already presented an very good story on this homepage. It would be great to get in contact with you..
he was a War Prisoner (i think he was in London from 1945-1948) and returned to Germany in May 1948. I have seen a small photo a few years ago in a photoalbum of my mother.. it shows my Grandpa and some of his friends doing his „job“ as a Warprisoner… defusing Mines on the English Beach.. J Anyway.. my Grandpa died 20 years ago, and i can remember, that he often told me the story about how he left U1206 in a rescue boat and how he was picked up by a English Boat.. i think he was always talking it was an English destroyer. He was also always pretty amused about the way how an friend of him (he was with him in the rescue boat) was talking to the Guard on Duty that he have to go to a toilete immediately. But the English soldier can’t understand and so the friend of my Grandfather just dropped his pants down.. and then the guy understands what he wants from him.. J Funny..
Based in Peterhead, Scotland, we spend much of our time researching, hunting for, and diving the shipwrecks off the Buchan coast.