British Merchant Navy ship at Sha'ab Ali
Data & Description
Type of vessel:
Port of registry:
April 9th, 1940
October 6th, 1941
bombarded and sunk by two German HE-111 bombers
none to very strong
Description dive spot:
The superstructure of the Thistlegorm were fortified by concrete slabs to protect the ship from attacking airplanes. The stern was equipped with an anti-aircraft gun and a machine gun, both originating from World War I. The cargo, which was loaded on board in Glasgow, was meant for the British troops in Egypt. Next to small armored personnel carriers there were trucks and motorcycles including hundrets of spare tires, trailers with generators, airplane engines and wings as spare parts for the Air Force, fuel and water cans and rubber boots. Also the cargo of the Thistlegorm contained carbines, caissons, mines, rifle grenades, detonators and the ship ammunition. On the upper deck two Stanier 8 F steam trains including coal and water wagons were loaded. Midships the British Universal Carrier MK II armored personnel carriers were stowed.
Not before the 1950s the wreck of the Thistlegorm was accidently discovered by Cousteau. Then the wreck remained untouched for 35 years. 1991 the wreck was discovered by a group of divers during a planned search operation. Since then the wreck suffered from souvenir hunters and ruthless divers, but it is still known as the most beautiful and interesting Red Sea wreck.
With only one dive the Thistlegorm cannot be completly discovered. Several dives should be planned at this dive site. Usually the dive begins at the bow. From the two bow cabins there you get to the cargo hold number 1. Left and right of it the two scrunched wagons are located. In the hold there are trucks, motorcycles, tires and rubber boots. The area of destructions begins after cargo hold number 2, the former bridge and the superstructure. Two two bombs hit around cargo hold number 3. You can find caissons, detonators and crushed vehicles. Both steam trains and the three amored personnel carriers were thrown away by the explosion and now are located near the wreck on the sandy bottom. The stern of the Thistlegorm lies in a sloping position of about 50 degrees. Next to the huge propeller you got the anti-aircraft gun and the machine gun here. Artillery shells are widespreaded around the stern area.
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