Diving the U714 by Brian Goddard
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 11:03

Located a short distance SE of Eyemouth, at 55.57N , 01.57W the wreck of  U714 is a regular dive on the gas diving itinerary of Marine Quest. 

A type V11 C U boat the submarine was launched in 1942, attacked by two allied warships and sunk by depth charge in 1945.  The loss of all 50 crew members makes this a war grave and should be dived and treated with respect. Today the wreck is located in 56 metres of water on a shingle bottom rising approximately 5 metres off the seabed with a significant list to starboard.

 

Descending to the wreck it soon becomes clear that it is significantly intact. In common with the majority of submarine wrecks of the second world war the lighter gauge outer streamline casing has either corroded away or been lost to trawl. The pressure hull is however still intact and much of the ancillary equipment has been deposited on the seabed.

The bows of the submarine appear to have suffered significant damage forward of the intact dive planes. The four torpedo tubes and their outer door mechanisms are clearly visible among the tangle of wreckage. The list to starboard has deposited the majority of the artefacts on that side of the wreck. Moving back along the casing the forward torpedo loading hatch gapes open the hatch missing. Inside the submarine is heavily silted hiding much of the equipment. Close by a life raft pressure canister has fallen off the wreck to the seabed. 

Approaching the conning tower the RDF aerial and mast slopes down towards the seabed. Heavily festooned in soft coral they bring light and colour to the wreck. Just forward of the conning tower on the port side the hinge system for the snorkel is intact with the snorkel laid along the hull the air intake strainer almost by the torpedo loading hatch. The main periscope tower is located at the front of the conning tower, in front of the open hatch. An edible crab had taken up residence inside obscuring my view of its contents. Behind this lies the attack periscope tower, inside the shiny brass top of the periscope complete with glass faceplate is clearly visible.

Moving back across the hull there is another open hatch and a slightly domed circular plate, possibly an in situ life raft. Crossing a relatively featureless area of pressure hull a life raft canister on the seabed heralds the start of the stern diving planes and the two props which are still in place. The rear torpedo tube can be picked out among the jumble of controls and support ironwork that litter this area. The higher port propeller and surrounding superstructure in particular is very pretty, the blanket of soft corals make it easy to overlook. There is so much to identify in this area of the wreck it is easy to lose track of the limited bottom time available and overstay.

With the shot alongside the conning tower I find myself making a relatively swift passage back along the top of the hull to regain the line.  A quick check of the ascent time built up and I can’t resist a last look at the attack periscope and down into the open conning tower hatch.

 

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