WWI gunship located after more than a century hidden on seabed

HMS Jason struck a German mine off the coast of Coll in 1917 and some 24 men went down with the ship.

WWI ship HMS Jason located off coast of Coll after more than a century hidden on seabed Royal Navy

After more than a century on the Scottish seabed, First World War gun ship HMS Jason has finally been discovered.

In 1917 the battleship hit a German mine off the coast of Coll in the Hebrides. More than 75 sailors survived, however 24 men went down with the vessel.

Although there was photographic evidence of the boat sinking, the exact location was never known.

But thanks to the efforts of historians Wendy Sadler and Kevin Heath from Lost in Waters Deep and a team from SULA diving, the historic ship has been discovered.

HMS Jason remains in good shape despite its age and although its bow was blown off by the mine, the dive team believe it may be somewhere else on the sea bed.

The mission to find the lost warship’s final resting place has been a challenge for all involved.

The gun barrel of HMS JasonRoyal Navy

Historians knew the ship’s rough location, but as it lay nearly 100m below the surface in freezing waters, it was difficult to locate. 

Previous sonar scans led to the team to believe they had finally found the warship, but the only way to be certain was to dive.

Dive team organiser Steve Mortimer said: “The wreck had actually sank alongside a great big rock, we are talking almost 100m down below the surface of the sea and as a consequence of that it was almost hidden because you couldn’t necessarily see the shape of the ship wreck,” he said.

Diver Fran Hockley said finding the ship was an amazing experience. 

“We saw the gun and loads of ammunition from it, one of the props shafts and the propeller on it,” she said. 

However Fran also reflected on the human impact of the shipwreck. 

HM Jason's anchorRoyal Navy

“It’s not just the ship, it’s the crew that were on it, some saved, and some lost. [I saw] bottles, plates and some soles of shoes.”

Now that the ship has been found, researchers aim is to provide closure to the families of the sailors who went down with the ship.

Royal Navy Lieutenant Jen Smith, who was part of the team’s effort, said “We are very conscious she is a war grave, so there were 25 lives lost and only one body recovered, so essentially there’s still the remains of 24 sailors down there.”

Steps will now be taken to make sure the battleship becomes an official war grave.

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