James Eagan Layne wreck project

Can you help tell the story of perhaps the most dived wreck in the UK?

Author: Pat
1st February 2012
 

Divers are being asked to help compile the story of the James Eagan Layne, one of the most dived wrecks in the UK.

The Layne – often known as JEL, for short – sank in March 1945 after being torpedoed off Plymouth.

With the 70th anniversary of her sinking due in 2015, the Nautical Archaeology Society is to document the ship in full.

In collaboration with ProMare UK, the NAS is launching The Liberty 70 Project: The Liberty ship James Eagan Layne.

Liberty ships were so-called due to their role in the supply of provisions for the liberation of Europe at the height of WW2.

Their simple construction saw them built in huge numbers, although many fell prey to the U-boats of the Atlantic.

The James Eagan Layne sank in 22 metres of water in Whitsand Bay in March 1945.

Originally her masts stood proud of the surface, although time on the bottom has taken its toll.

The hull is falling apart under the action of waves and currents so may not remain standing for many more years to come.

The Liberty 70 project aims to record the wreck as it is today in a detailed site plan and as a 3D computer model.

It has been an attraction for visiting divers since the beginning of sport diving and for many divers of all generations this ship was their first experience of wreck diving.

Hence, the team plans to collect stories about people’s first or favourite dives on this wreck.

And as a healthy artificial reef, the Project will investigate what varied and interesting marine life lives in and around the ship.

If you would like to help with the project, find out more from the Nautical Archaeology Society website.

 
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