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Nick Johns

7 DD Valentine tanks located in Studland bay

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When I lived in Poole in the 1990's I remember a story on the local news that the Navy had placed charges on all these tanks to stop Drivers recovering items.  Quite if they missed some I do not know.

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They missed at least one, although the practice of tying a mooring line to the barrel has resulted in the nylon rope sawing its way through and shortening the gun.

I have dived four of the tanks and there are 3D scans of them here:

Valentine Tanks Studland Bay

Edited by SimonBrown

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I believe one of them has donated a propeller to the one restored by the Pearsons.

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"Donated" is not an accurate word!! I borrowed one from a diver in 1987 to act as a master for me to cast a copy from and my tank has been using this copy ever since. A different one of the recovered propellers was offered for sale recently by the son of the late diver who found it in the 1970s. My bank account balance confirms it was not "donated" but purchased. I did agonise somewhat about whether I should buy it (grave robbing etc) but finally decided that as it had already been recovered, it was better in my possession where the memories will be preserved rather than as a shiny object on someone's wall.

6 tanks were sunk at Studland and a 7th was abandoned when it became lodged on the training bank. This tank later floated off and was sunk by the Navy to prevent the secret getting out. All 7 were blown up in 1988 by the Royal Navy because live, fused 75mm HE rounds were being brought up and sold by divers. All DD Valentines are of riveted construction and the charges very largely blew most of them into individual plates although the last 2 received smaller charges and both only had their turrets blown off. One turret landed back in place (almost!) and one landed upside down alongside. Six men drowned, only one body was ever recovered and identified but human remains have never been found in any hulls so they are not technically war graves Due to the damage and corrosion, whole recovery would be almost impossible and any attempt at restoration would be almost akin to complete recreation with just a few original parts.. 

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