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Wreckage of World War II Minesweeper Identified in Irish Sea

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

HMS Mercury MinesweeperPOOLE, ENGLAND—According to a statement released by Bournemouth University, one of 300 shipwrecks in the southern Irish Sea has been identified as the minesweeper HMS Mercury by a team of researchers from Bournemouth University and Bangor University. Built as a passenger steamer in 1934 for the London Midland Scottish Railway, the ship was requisitioned for service in World War II by the British Admiralty in 1939. In 1940, the vessel was damaged by a mine it was attempting to clear, and sank vertically after the entire crew had been rescued. It had been previously thought that the wreckage at the site was a submarine, but data collected with high-resolution multibeam sonar indicated the vessel had a boxed paddle wheel. The researchers were able to match the specifications with information in marine archives to identify the Mercury. For more on the archaeology of World War II, go to "Letter from Alaska: The Cold Winds of War."

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