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Navy war graves ( merged )

OldSolduer

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There's something very disturbing about grave robbing. As ER has stated maybe a good public caning would encourage others to cease and desist this horrible practice.
 
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jollyjacktar

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The bell has been raised from the wreck and will be put on public display for all to see.  I know, ER, you're opposed and I respect your views but I don't share them.  I'm pleased that her bell will be a tangible reminder of HOOD and her crew for future generations and not lost forever.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3191677/HMS-Hood-s-bell-lifted-Atlantic-seabed-74-years-sunk-battle-leading-death-1-415-navy-personnel.html
 
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jollyjacktar

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An update.  The bell has been publically displayed to commemorate her loss 75 years ago.  :salute:

Photos of the ceremony as well as the recovery etc at story link below.

Remembering HMS Hood: Bell of battlecruiser sunk 75 years ago in Royal Navy's biggest ever disaster retrieved from the seabed by Microsoft founder Paul Allen is formally unveiled by Princess Royal
The bell from HMS Hood has been unveiled by the Princess Royal 75 years after the ship was sunk by the Bismarck
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen had funded expedition to retrieve bell from seabed between Iceland and Greenland
Ceremony watched by descendants of some of 1,415 sailors who died when battleship hit by German vessel in 1941
Only three of Hood's crew survived and it was wish of one of them to recover ship's bell as memorial to shipmates

By Sam Tonkin For Mailonline

Published: 16:43 GMT, 24 May 2016  | Updated: 17:02 GMT, 24 May 2016

The bell from HMS Hood has been unveiled by the Princess Royal to mark the 75th anniversary of the Royal Navy's largest loss of life from a single vessel.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen - who funded the expedition to retrieve the bell from the seabed of the Denmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland - attended the event at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard where the bell has gone on display.

Anne struck eight bells at midday during the ceremony, held with HMS Victory as a backdrop, watched by descendants of some of the 1,415 sailors who died when the battleship was hit by German vessel Bismarck on May 24 1941.

Mr Allen, 63, told the Press Association: 'It's an incredible way of recognising and remembering the men who gave their lives.

'There are very few things that have this amount of history, it's an amazing object when you see all the inscriptions. I think it's great to have a tangible artefact here, that the families of the men who went down on the ship and the survivors can have an amazing artefact like this so they can come and give remembrance to the amazing sacrifice that those men made that fateful day.'

Patricia Beach, 82, of Beech Hill, Berkshire, was seven when her father Albert Varlow died as an officer aged 44 on HMS Hood.

She said: 'It changed my life. He talked to me a lot and he said he really thought he wasn't going to come back, he knew he was going on a very unsafe boat. He said, 'Look after your mother'.

'I think of him every day, he was a personable person, a great father.'

Commander Keith Evans, 96, from Haslemere, Surrey, the chairman of the HMS Hood Association who served on board in 1938-39, said: 'It's quite emotional. I was lucky not to be there that day, it was a real shock throughout the whole country when it went down.'

James Warrand, from New South Wales, Australia, attended to remember his father, Commander Selwyn Warrand, who died at the age of 37.

He said: 'It's staggering, is all I can say, it's great to see the bell returned here, it's very emotional.'

Derick Collins, from Fareham, Hampshire, lost his father, torpedoman Able Seaman Reginald Collins, 36.

He said: 'It's an emotional day and now generations can see what the Hood was to the nation and the great loss we all suffered, not only us personal families but the nation as a family as well.'

Only three of Hood's crew survived and it was the expressed wish of one of them, Ted Briggs, to recover the ship's bell as a memorial to his shipmates.

After the unveiling, the bell was carried by a Royal Navy guard to Boathouse 5 for the official opening of the exhibition 36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle That Won The War, which marks the centenary of the Battle of Jutland.

Lady Hood launched Hood in 1918 in memory of her late husband Rear Admiral Sir Horace Hood, who was killed in his ship, HMS Invincible, at the Battle of Jutland on May 31 1916.

An inscription on the side of the bell reads: 'In accordance with the wishes of Lady Hood it was presented in memory of her husband to HMS Hood battlecruiser which ship she launched on 22nd August 1918.'

The bell's retrieval nine months ago from a mile and a half below the water's surface was led by a team assembled by Mr Allen and included Blue Water Recoveries.

The expedition was launched from Mr Allen's yacht M/Y Octopus, equipped with a state-of-the-art remotely operated vehicle (ROV) which was adapted to retrieve the bell.

Rear Admiral Philip Wilcocks, president of the Hood Association, whose uncle died on board, said: 'There is no headstone among the flowers for those who perish at sea.

'For the 1,415 officers and men who lost their lives in HMS Hood on 24 May 1941, the recovery of her bell and its subsequent place of honour in the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth will mean that future generations will be able to gaze upon her bell and remember with gratitude and thanks the heroism, courage and personal sacrifice of Hood's ship's company who died in the service of their country.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3607165/Remembering-HMS-Hood-Bell-battlecruiser-sunk-75-years-ago-Royal-Navy-s-biggest-disaster-retrieved-seabed-Microsoft-founder-Paul-Allen-formally-unveiled-Princess-Royal.html#ixzz49b2IcRkg
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
 

FSTO

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Good on this retired Merchant Mariner to raise awareness on this issue.

http://nationalpost.com/news/sunken-warships-are-the-ultimate-treasure-unless-canada-can-protect-ocean-graves#comments-area

This seems like a simple fix to a potential issue.

Recent reports from Ireland that scuba-diving treasure hunters are pillaging the remains of a First World War shipwreck have brought new urgency to a campaign to designate Canada’s own sunken naval vessels “ocean war graves.”

Led by retired Merchant Navy Captain Paul Bender, 90, the campaign has had little success over the last decade, except to show that when it comes to protecting the final resting places of wartime sailors, Canada is the odd country out.

But as sport diving becomes more advanced and less costly,  nine wartime ships in Canadian waters —  most sunk by German U-boats, others by accident — are increasingly vulnerable to grave robbers. Captain Bender said he has even heard rumours of someone displaying a human skull on their mantlepiece after taking it from an allied shipwreck off the west coast of England.

“It’s gruesome,” he said.

As Captain Bender describes it, “the human remains of the sailors who were not able to escape into lifeboats or onto life rafts may be found not in segregated grave sites, but anywhere within the twisted wreckage of the ship in which they once served, perhaps scattered throughout the ship, perhaps huddled together in one or more compartments with no hope of escape because buckled bulkheads prevent the opening of watertight doors.”


“There is no headstone among the flowers for those who perish at sea,” he said.

War memorials sometimes say these sailors have “no known graves, adds Capt. Bender. “Well, they certainly do, because I’ve got the latitude and longitude position of every one of the Royal Canadian Navy ships that were lost during the Second World War.


HMCS Alberni, circa 1943-1944. National Defence
“So they do have known graves. We know where they are.”

They are in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, for example, or off the Gaspé coast, or near Halifax, or on the Grand Banks. In all, including wrecks in British, French, Icelandic and international waters, Capt. Bender says Canada’s wartime ocean shipwrecks are the final resting place for more than 1,200 people.

“For all you and I know at the very moment that we’re talking there could be divers going down there and taking things from them,” he said. Designating these ships graves “would give the government the power to prosecute people who, without authority, attempt to retrieve artifacts from these ships.”

This past summer, for example, when naval researchers led by Paul Allen of Microsoft discovered the wreck of the USS Indianapolis in the Philippine Sea, they knew they were discovering an official war grave, protected by U.S. law from disturbance. That designation governed all aspects of their mission.

In response to Capt. Bender’s inquiries, France has confirmed that the wreck of Canada’s HMCS Athabaskan, which lies off the Brittany coast, is likewise protected from disturbance under French law, with offenders subject to imprisonment.

‘It’s grave robbing’: Treasure hunters suspected to have looted infamous 1915 shipwreck
Sunken Second World War battleship — and grave to more than 300 sailors — has been illegally salvaged
“We can’t do that in Canada because we don’t have any laws,” Capt. Bender said. “If the state doesn’t have any laws, there’s nothing that the state can do if people say ‘Well, to hell with you … I’m gonna do what I want.’”

The U.K. maintains a list of protected and controlled wrecks under a 1986 law, which even includes enemy vessels, such as German U-boats. But the Second World War wrecks of three Canadian corvettes in British waters — the HMCS Alberni, Trentonian and Regina — do not share the same protection.

“They’re all in the same place, friends and enemies. The enemies are protected, the friends are not,” Capt. Bender said.


Ret. Merchant Navy Captain Paul Bender, 90, photographed surrounded by images of ships at his Ottawa home Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. Bender is campaigning to designate wartime shipwrecks as “ocean war graves,” a special heritage designation. Darren Brown/National Post
Vice-Admiral Denis Rouleau, a retired naval commander and former Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff, has helped in the campaign by briefing the government, but “nobody really wanted to grab his torch.”

He said the three Canadian ships were almost added to Britain’s list last year based on Capt. Bender’s recommendation, but Britain wanted a formal government request. It got as far as the British Defence attaché waiting for the nod from Global Affairs Canada, which never came.

“We never got any further than that,” Vice-Admiral Rouleau said. Capt. Bender was “stopped in his tracks.”

Shipwrecks in general are managed by Transport Canada. As to military wrecks, the Department of National Defence says it plays no role in heritage designation. Parks Canada does, and it administers wrecks within Canadian waters, as well as advising other departments about protecting and managing what a spokesperson called “heritage wrecks.”

There is no cost to have these ships declared as ocean war graves because they are already set up as burial sites

 
There is, however, no Canadian heritage designation specific to “ocean war graves,” and the designations that exist for some wreck sites, such as the Elizabeth and Mary in the St. Lawrence,  or others associated with the war of 1812, are “for commemorative purposes only,” according to Parks Canada.

Bender, 90, joined the Merchant Navy four days before his 16th birthday in 1944. Two weeks later, he was aboard a ship when it hit a mine, although it sunk with no loss of life. He later served on ships crossing the Atlantic, supplying the campaigns in Italy, Greece and the former Yugoslavia. After the war, he participated in the British naval blockade of Mandatory Palestine. He has a graduate degree in maritime law, and has served on a delegation to NATO. In 1971, he set up a ferry service between Prince Edward Island and the Magdalen Islands.

“There is no cost to have these ships declared as ocean war graves because they are already set up as burial sites,” he said. “You can’t maintain them. It’s just a matter of recognizing them in the same way as cemeteries.”

More than just a symbolic designation, he said a legal recognition of ocean war graves would “put the loss of sailors on the same plane as the loss of soldiers and airmen.”

 

ModlrMike

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If only there were a Liberal MP who happened to be a serving naval reservist to champion this issue.
 

Rifleman62

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In a recent National Geographic TV program (Titanic: 20 Years Later With James Cameron), James Cameron stated that the Titanic wreck is surrounded by footwear. The bones of the dead disintegrated, but the footwear remains due to the tannic acids use in footwear mfg. Mention of a women's shoes and a little girl's shoes found together in a cabin. Very eerie.

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/videos/why-you-wont-find-bodies-on-the-titanic/

WHY YOU WON'T FIND BODIES ON THE TITANIC

Explorer Bob Ballard explains why shoes are all that's left of many Titanic passengers.
 

Blackadder1916

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I would have thought it a given that some form of attention is paid to this issue by the Canadian Government bureaucracy.  It's not something new and despite a general impression among many of the usual suspects on these means that the government is apathetic at best in memorializing those who have provided the last full measure, there must be some small recognition.  Well, this is the only thing I found.

From the Receiver of Wrecks FAQ page

Question: What should a salvor not salvage and why?

Answer: Wrecks of historical or archaeological significance: Do not disturb wrecks that have historical or heritage value to Canadians.  Some wrecks may be legally protected as cultural or heritage resources under provincial, territorial, federal legislation depending on their location.

Wrecks in Protected Areas: Wrecks located in marine protected areas, including municipal, provincial, territorial and federal protected areas such as parks and conservation areas are managed under relevant legislation and policy.  They should not be salvaged or disturbed without appropriate authorization.

Military wrecks: These wrecks should not be touched unless permission is granted, in most cases neither the Canadian nor foreign governments will grant permission to salvors to salvage military wrecks because of the danger associated with unexploded ammunition.  In addition, if there were casualties aboard a military wreck, the Canadian and foreign governments usually consider the wreck a military grave and offer it protection under various legislative authorities.

For more information on historical, archaeological or military wrecks, please visit the Parks Canada.

And that's all.  A somewhat wishy-washy response.  Nothing more (anywhere that I could find) about which vessels (if any) have been designated or what "legislative authorities" offer protection.
 
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jollyjacktar

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I know it's controversial to some members here who have lost family at sea to think a piece might be removed from the wreck, such as Hood's bell. 

As a current sailor, l am pleased to see that some of Hood will survive the ravages of time and will remind people of her and her crew forever more.

Perhaps it is because they, our wrecks, the HMS Hood or even USS Indianapolis are still within living memory that it is upsetting.  To bring Mary Rose or CSS Hunley to the surface for preservation and display doesn't cause a stir and yet they still are war graves.  But this will also ensure they will remind people as well. 
As I've said before, if l was a crewmember of a lost vessel, it would please me to think a bit would/could be saved to remind others of me, my ship and her crew.

 

ModlrMike

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I have no issue with artifacts being recovered on an official basis for commemorative purposes. I have a completely opposite perspective on scavengers who would retrieve articles from a wreck for their own selfish pleasure or profit.
 

mariomike

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Opinions vary,

E.R. Campbell said:
Sunken warships are, themselves, "hallowed ground" and should be left as is.

There are other, better ways to memorialize those killed in action at sea.

This is, without putting too fine a point on it, nothing more than grave robbing. It may be tied up in a memorial ribbon but it is still plain, simple grave robbing. The UK authorities should know better.
 

FSTO

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I just mailed a letter to my local MP (Christina McKenna) asking her to take a look at this matter. They say that handwritten letters get more notice than emails. We shall see.
 
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jollyjacktar

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ModlrMike said:
I have no issue with artifacts being recovered on an official basis for commemorative purposes. I have a completely opposite perspective on scavengers who would retrieve articles from a wreck for their own selfish pleasure or profit.
Totally agree.
 

FSTO

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Its now been 3 months since I sent my letter to my MP. No reply (email or otherwise), my next move is to stroll over to the constituency office and see if they actually care if people hand write a letter to them.
 
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jollyjacktar

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This past week l have the pleasure of viewing the Franklin Expedition exhibition at the Canadian History Museum.  There were some actual items on display from the ships and other sites associated with Franklin.  One, is the ship's bell from HMS EREBUS.

Seeing her bell only cements my personal opinion that saving it for future generations to learn of the ship and her crew, is the right thing to do.  To have it lost for all time and by doing so lessen the connection to them is folly if it can be saved.  All items were treated and displayed with respect, it did not feel like a ghoul show.
 

FSTO

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jollyjacktar said:
This past week l have the pleasure of viewing the Franklin Expedition exhibition at the Canadian History Museum.  There were some actual items on display from the ships and other sites associated with Franklin.  One, is the ship's bell from HMS EREBUS.

Seeing her bell only cements my personal opinion that saving it for future generations to learn of the ship and her crew, is the right thing to do.  To have it lost for all time and by doing so lessen the connection to them is folly if it can be saved.  All items were treated and displayed with respect, it did not feel like a ghoul show.

I agree that these artifacts should be on display. But only if they are recovered and treated with respect, as the one described by you above. 
 
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