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DUE CEO, Booking agent, Coffee maker & Dogsbody...
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Guys

This weekend we dived the UB109 a unique sub which was sunk by remote control in 1918. This sub was detected using underwater sensors and then the operator detonated the nearest mine blowing off her stern.

Quite a lot of the crew including the captain free assended the 22m ish to the surface and about 8 survived. One of our guys dived in my pool shortie and had a good 35min in the water down to 27m with no major problems, in our near Mediteranian water temps down here.

The following is a dive report from one of our DL's, not quite DIR but what the hell, enjoy:-

On a beautiful sunny afternoon Carl, Paul O, Simon, Ali (on his first channel wreck dive), and a guest diver from Italy called Matteo turned up at the slip and wondered why there were no other dive boats around.  What did everyone else know that we didn't?  These thoughts were soon forgotten when the club's resident comedy incident on legs (Carl) anounced that he had forgotten to bring his suit - but that it didn't matter because he would dive in his swimming trunks and a T-shirt.  The suggestion was made that he should at least try and borrow a shortie from Paul O.  Reluctantly he agreed and proceeded to put Paul's shortie on - back to front!  After cementing his place as the firm favourite for this year's Chris McCracken Weightbelt Award he joined the rest of us on the boat.

We left the slip in good time - anticipating an early slack and not being able to find the wreck (you know, the usual kind of stuff).  Imagine our surprise when we hit the wreck in good time and immediately found the pea buoy we had left on the UB109 two weeks earlier.

Paul and Ali were first in - and they tried hard to ignore Carl in his ill-fitting shortie who was tagging along with them.  Despite a few understandable buoyancy problems Ali thoroughly enjoyed his first wreck dive - in conditions which were far removed from the pea-souper we had dived the same wreck in two weeks earlier.  Carl had great fun unwinding the shot line which had spent the last fortnight wrapping itself around the conning tower and periscope with every changing tide.  After completing their planned dive they emerged to reports of 3-4 metres of vis and slack water.

Simon and Matteo went in second wave - with Simon suddenly realising the importance of a thorough dive briefing as he watched in horror as his new Italian friend disappeared down into the dark water oblivious to the Channel wrecker's tradition of actually holding onto the shotline.  Matteo is actually a very capable and experienced Mediterranean diver - but they obviously don't have the kind of tidal currents that can wrench your arms out of their sockets while you hang onto the line for grim death and watch your deco time ticking slowly down.

The sub lies in about 26 metres and is very intact from just aft of the conning tower to the bow.  The true horror of submarine escapes from a cold and dark metal coffin is evidenced by the open hatches which offer glimpses down into the dark interior.  The glass is still intact in the conning tower, and the prism at the top of the periscope is also still there.  The wreck provides a home for a large variety of Wrasse and crabs, and is encrusted with life of all kinds.  Heavily silted in places it is still unmistakably 'sub-shaped' and still has the surprisingly large bore deck cannon pointing menacingly off the starboard bow.  Even the points where the flag on the bow are anchored still remain intact on this war grave.  The only word of warning is that the wreck is smothered in rope, fishing line, and net.  Some of this tends to float around and can easily wrap itself around you.

A thoroughly enjoyable dive was had by all - and the 109 remains a fascinating shallow wreck dive just a short distance from the shore.
 

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<font color='#FF7F00'>
[b said:
Quote[/b] ]One of our guys dived in my pool shortie and had a good 35min in the water down to 27m with no major problems, in our near Mediteranian water temps down here.

Paul,

There was no need to add this in ya report mate,,,,, i think everyone already knew that we are Southern 'ard bas***s down here.

Like i e;mailed a certain **** on Handbag net, Diving in Niz viz at Dover is not the same as diving in Hosey puddle in a yellow FFM


ANdy
 

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Just not enough dive time.
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Paul
sounds like a good dive. Surprised there's anything left of her, you mentioned she's a war grave, is that the reason nobody has done the hammer and crow-bar dance on her yet?

Matt
 

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<font color='#FF7F00'>As Paul and I are VERY local divers,,,,,,,,, we do infact respect them.

Infact it's the visiting wa**ers .

a) That lay portholes on the seafront for all to see.
b) Have silly things likes bends.

Andy
 

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WWI naval researcher
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Paul,

Great to hear that you guys enjoy diving the UB 109 and that she's still in good shape and respected as a war grave.

A flag pole at the bow? I've never seen that in a pictures of boats of this class. Sure it wasn't the attachment points for the net cutter?

That big bore gun would be a 105mm/45 caliber weapon. These were standard issue on UBIII class boats from about the middle of 1918 on (some boats had them earlier). Early production UBIIIs were fitted with 88mm/30 cal guns and later ungunned. And yes, the type of gun fitted is a way to very roughly date wrecks of this class.

Best wishes,

Michael
 

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Hi Michael,

I was going to make some notes for you and ron but was a bit busy looking after my buddy on this one.

The bracket at the front has a small hole that i would not feel is big or strong enough for a net cutter. I have been looking through Janes Sub's and looking at the pic's we are probably jumping to conclusions from other sub pic's over the years.

There are a lot of brackets and such still in place and i will aim to do a sketch at some stage. With it being so shallow a couple of dives will give me enough time to do a reasonable plan.

The hatch forward of the gun where the torpedos were loaded (you can see the angled tube), would i assume have been an escape hatch as well as its open. (The hull is full of sand).

The conning tower hatch where the Captain and Navigator got out is incredibly small, but you can see down the height of the tower untill you get to the sand filled hull. No wonder they got jamed together in it.

The oblong prisms around the conning tower are very impressive as they reflect in your torch light. Overall this is s very good wreck that i will be visiting again, and it will probably become a regular beginers dive for our club.

Regards

Paul
 

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Paul,

Thanks for the description. You are correct about the forward torpedo hatch. In Oblt.z.S. Ramien's own words: "I was astounded to find five other men on the surface. The torpedomen had opened the hatch immediately following the explosion and these five men were by chance blown throw the hatch. Included in those five men was a machinist who had been carried through all the compartments on the crest of the rising water and shoved out the forward hatch."

Aside from Ramien and the navigator, the helmsman and radio operator escaped through the conning tower hatch.

Eight of the nine men were rescued.

Another thing that attaches forward are the two jumper cables. The net cutter would have five attachment points.

Best wishes,

Michael
 
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