3 British warships sunk 90 years ago found off Estonia

hackle

Lantern Swinger
Moderator
#1
The media is reporting that an Estonian minehunter, using coordinates supplied by the Royal Navy, have located the wrecks of three British warships which were sunk by mines in 1918 and 1919 during operations to support Estonian forces against the Bolsheviks.

Daily Mail said:
Almost a century later, the role of the Royal Navy is regarded as heroic by Estonians, and seen as a key factor in enabling the country to enjoy two decades of independence before being overrun by both Hitler and Stalin in the Second World War.

A total of 19 crew died in when the three vessels went down between December 1918 and July 1919. The lost Royal Navy sailors are now expected to be posthumously honoured by Estonia for their role in keeping the country free between the two world wars in the 20th century.

The warships - sunk after hitting mines - were found in a special operation by the Estonian minehunter Ugani off the island of Saaremaa. They lie at a depth of 60 to 100 metres.

The light cruiser HMS Cassandra, completed in 1917, was one of the Royal Navy's most advanced vessels of its day. Ten of its crew died and 400 were evacuated when it sank in December 1918.

HMS Myrtle and HMS Gentian went down in July 1919 with a combined loss of nine.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/wor...k-Russian-Revolution-found.html#ixzz0xTWsHP6n

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/23/british-warships-cassandra-myrtle-gentian-estonia
 
#2
Thanks Douglas.

A fascinating discovery that should bring 'closure' for any descendants of the crew members who died in Dec 1918 and July 1919. HMS GENTIAN was an ARABIS class fleet minesweeping sloop and HMS MYRTLE was an AZALEA class fleet minesweeping sloop. The sinking of these ships and the light cruiser HMS CASSANDRA was yet another demonstration of the potency of cheap and simple mines in naval warfare.

Incidentally, the Estonian minehunter concerned is called UGANDI, not UGANI. She is one of three sophisticated ex-RN SANDOWN Class minehunters in the Estonian Navy (Eesti Merevägi), all sold off prematurely at bargain basement prices in 2006 as the result of Defence cuts. Alarmingly, HMS BRIDPORT (now EML UGANDI) was only 11 years old when she was decommissioned in 2004.

Sandown Class Minehunters, United Kingdom
naval-technoloy.com said:
...In July 2004, the UK Ministry of Defence announced that three Sandown class minehunters would be retired by April 2005 in a restructuring (sic) of the UK Armed Forces.

Bridport was decommissioned in July 2004, Sandown in January 2005 and Inverness in April 2005. In September 2006, Estonia signed a contract to acquire the three vessels. Sandown (now EML Admiral Cowan) was delivered in 2007, Inverness (renamed EML Sakala) in January 2008 and Bridport (EML Ugandi) in January 2009...
 
#3
Naval_Gazer said:
Incidentally, the Estonian minehunter concerned is called UGANDI, not UGANI. She is one of three sophisticated ex-RN SANDOWN Class minehunters in the Estonian Navy (Eesti Merevägi), all sold off prematurely at bargain basement prices in 2006 as the result of Defence cuts. Alarmingly, HMS BRIDPORT (now EML UGANDI) was only 11 years old when she was decommissioned in 2004.
I was lucky enough to visit ENS Admiral Cowan (formerly HMS Sandown) earlier this year - moored up alongside Sakala (Inverness) and Ugandi (Bridport) in Tallinn.

You'll be pleased to know that all three are kept squeaky-clean and shipshape by their thoroughly professional and enthusiastic Estonian crews. Even if our masters mistakenly decided we didn't need them any more, they have at least gone to a good home.

And a good friend, too - it's a great tribute to the RN that they decided to name one of their three new acquisitions after the man who (as a Rear Admiral) commanded our Baltic cruiser squadron squadron in 1919-1920.
 
#4
DavenportR said:
Naval_Gazer said:
Incidentally, the Estonian minehunter concerned is called UGANDI, not UGANI. She is one of three sophisticated ex-RN SANDOWN Class minehunters in the Estonian Navy (Eesti Merevägi), all sold off prematurely at bargain basement prices in 2006 as the result of Defence cuts. Alarmingly, HMS BRIDPORT (now EML UGANDI) was only 11 years old when she was decommissioned in 2004.
I was lucky enough to visit ENS Admiral Cowan (formerly HMS Sandown) earlier this year - moored up alongside Sakala (Inverness) and Ugandi (Bridport) in Tallinn.

You'll be pleased to know that all three are kept squeaky-clean and shipshape by their thoroughly professional and enthusiastic Estonian crews. Even if our masters mistakenly decided we didn't need them any more, they have at least gone to a good home.

And a good friend, too - it's a great tribute to the RN that they decided to name one of their three new acquisitions after the man who (as a Rear Admiral) commanded our Baltic cruiser squadron squadron in 1919-1920.
We worked with the above 3 ships a couple of years ago whilst on entering Tallin (Doing OOW Manouvers etc...), as DavenportR has said all 3 are in great condition, and crewed by well trained and keen men. A credit to the Estonian Navy.
 
#5
DavenportR said:
<snip>

And a good friend, too - it's a great tribute to the RN that they decided to name one of their three new acquisitions after the man who (as a Rear Admiral) commanded our Baltic cruiser squadron squadron in 1919-1920.
Thanks Davenport (and Shackles for the update).

I looked up Admiral Cowan on Wikipedia and his biography describes another of those colourful British characters who seemed so prevalent in Victorian and Edwardian times. I particularly liked this bit towards the end when he would have been in his 70s:

Admiral Sir Walter Henry Cowan, 1st Baronet, KCB, DSO & Bar, MVO (11 June 1871–14 February 1956)

Wikipedia said:
...Oldest warrior

During World War II he was given a job by his old friend Roger Keyes, then head of the Commandos. Cowan voluntarily took the lower rank of Commander and went to Scotland in 1941 to train the commandos in small boat handling. He served in North Africa, where he saw action at Mechili and at the Battle of Bir Hakeim, where he was captured on 27 May 1942, having attached himself to the Indian 18th King Edward VII's Own Cavalry (his commando unit having been disbanded). He was fighting an Italian tank crew single-handedly armed only with a revolver. Repatriated in 1943, he rejoined the commandos and saw action in Italy during 1944. He was awarded a bar to his DSO. He retired once more in 1945...
 

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