Sunken wartime wrecks go online

Exceptional diving conditions this summer, with underwater visibility to rival tropical waters, has allowed archaeologists to capture amazing photographs of First World War shipwrecks and record the sites in stunning detail thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

These photographs have been used to create online 3D models of entire wrecks allowing divers and non-divers alike to take a ‘virtual dive’ and explore a world beneath the waves from the comfort of their own home.

maritme archaeology trust

In November of 1917, while on war service, Admiralty Steam Drifter John Mitchell collided with steamer SS Bjerka and sank approximately 15 miles south of Christchurch, Dorset. It has remained on the seabed for nearly 100 years, slowly breaking apart, one of more than 1,000 vessels that sank off the south coast during the First World War.

Port of Lowestoft Research Society

Port of Lowestoft Research Society

The Maritime Archaeology Trust today unveiled a 3D digital model of the wreck, created from hundreds of photographs taken during a dive on the site during extraordinarily good diving conditions this June.

Amanda Bowens from the Maritime Archaeology Trust said:

“The John Mitchell model is offering new opportunities for presenting underwater sites to the general public

People are now able to explore the site as a diver could but with guaranteed excellent visibility and no need to get wet!”

and went on to say that more models are in development and will be available shortly.

The newly-available online 3D model can be found here

Information about the John Mitchell and its loss (and the 3D model) can be found here: