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Published: 30-Jul-12 12:31:00
Source: Sunderland Echo
Related: 10-Apr-10 23:11:09
A diver from Bedfordshire has identified the wreck of The SS Ladoga during a recent wreck diving excursion near Hastings on the south coast of England. The ship has been underwater for more than 100 years after it sank in a collision and the diver, Pete Hodkin, managed to identify the vessel when he found its bell.
A scuba diver has identified a shipwreck near Hastings after finding its bell during a recent diving expedition.
For years, divers have been taking wreck diving excursions to explore what was known as wreck 355 on the south coast of England but the recent discovery has helped identify the unknown ship as The SS Ladoga.
The ship was built in Sunderland in 1892 and has been missing for 109 years after it was involved in a collision.
Pete Hodkin, a scuba diver and the training officer for Mid Herts Divers in Welwyn Garden City, located the bell during scuba diving adventures with 11 other members of the club earlier this month.
“Finding a bell is one of the most exciting and valuable things a diver could find,” Pete explained. “It is usually the only positive means of identification.”
“Before jumping in, the boats skipper told us to bring up anything we find that might help identify the wreck,” he said.
“I was swimming along when I saw something round in the sand. At first I thought it was a plate.
“As I got a bit closer I thought it could be a bucket but as I picked it up I realised it was a bell.”
The words “SS Ladoga 1892 London” are written on the brass bell and records show that the steam cargo ship disappeared on 15th March, 1903.
The group went wreck diving using a boat from the Eastbourne-based company Dive 125 who have helped successfully identify eight other wrecks over the years in different scuba diving destinations in the UK.
Dave Ronnan, the co-owner of Dive 125, explained that the ship’s identity remained a mystery for so many years because a number of artefacts had been found on the site including Wedgewood Cup.
“The cup was made between 1940 and 1950. This led us to believe that the ship was probably a casualty of the Second World War,” Dave commented.
“We now know the ship sank in 1903. So, how the cup got there is a mystery. It was possibly dropped from an angling or dive boat.
“It just shows how incidental finds may not be conclusive.”
The Receiver of Wrecks has been informed by the new findings and the site will now be named after the ship.
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