SS Thistlegorm – June 2015

Last June we had an opportunity to dive the wreck of the SS Thistlegorm which is one of the best dive sites in the world and is often considered the best wreck site in the world. It is a former 128m long British transport ship sunk in 1941 after a German air attack. There are various artefacts remaining on the wreck including 2 locomotives, 2 tanks, army trucks, jeeps, motorbikes, boots, stacks of rifles, and various spare parts for planes and cars. Please see below the video from this magnificent wreck along with a brief history of the SS Thistlegorm!

Thistlegorm 1

SS Thistlegorm was one of a number of Thistle ships owned and operated by the Albyn Line. She was destined for war duties however and was equipped with an additional armoured Gun Deckand only an old 4.7″ gun. In May 1941, the Thistlegorm was in her home port of Glasgow loading supplies essential for the 8th Army: Land Mines, Shells, Ammunition, Weapons, Bedford Trucks, Armoured Cars, Bren-Carriers, BSA Motorcycles, Trailers, Vehicle spares, Aircraft and Aircraft parts, Radios, Rubber thigh-boots, 2 sets of railway engines.

On 2nd June 1941, SS Thistlegorm (Captain William Ellis) departed for her last voyage from Glasgow, joined by a large convoy and instead of taking the Mediterranean route, she rounded via South Africa for safety reasons. The Convoy proceeded along the east coast of Africa before finally entering the Red Sea, Gulf of Suez. At this time, however, two vessels had collided further up the Gulf of Suez and were virtually blocking the entire entrance to the Canal. This led to the SS Thistlegorm, remaining at anchor for a full two weeks.

At 2250 hours on 5th October 1941 two twin-engine Heinkels He 111´s crossed the north Egyptian coast heading south-east in search of a big ship, her presence being confirmed by German intelligence. Just as they were on the point of returning home, one of the pilots spotted a ship at anchor. As he approached the bows of the Thistlegorm, he released two bombs right over her bridge. Both bombs penetrated aft of the bridge, detonating a great deal of ammunition. The resultant explosion sent the two locomotives spiralling into the air as the ship was ripped open. The vessel began to sink and the crew quickly abandoned ship. She sank at 0130 hrs 6th October 1941. (Source: Wrecksite.eu)

Thistlegorm 2

The ship was rediscovered by Jacques Cousteau in 1956 and is arguably the most sought after scuba diving wreck in the world. It is thought that the Sinai Peninsula’s Thistlegorm is the most frequently dived site in the world. The wreck sits upright on the seabed at 33m. To dive the bow section you can descend onto the main deck area at 15m and enter Hold no. 1 from a large square entrance way in the floor close to the main anchor chains. The ship has 2 levels in its holds and it is possible to swim through the wreck from Hold 1 to 3, using the internal interconnecting doorways at a maximum depth of 25m. (Source: Dive-The-World.com)

Please Contact us if you dive a rebreather and would like to join us on one of our trips for some of the best wreck diving or if you are insterested in training on the rebreathers!

More info:
Silent Thrill Limited
Thistlegorm SS [+1941]
Megalodon UK
Innerspace Systems Corp
Red Sea Explorers UK
Red Sea Explorers

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