From: Reuters
Published March 10, 2008 09:08 AM

British World War Two ship found in Norwegian fjord

OSLO (Reuters) - The wreck of a British warship sunk by the Germans during World War Two, killing more than 100 men, has been discovered on the bottom of a deep fjord in the north of Norway, the Norwegian Navy said.

HMS Hunter went down on April 10, 1940, in the Ofot fjord outside of the Arctic port of Narvik during the first of two battles between the British and the Nazis, during which several other ships were sunk and never seen again in the deep inlet.

"We searched the area where HMS Hunter most likely was located and spent around 14 hours before we found the vessel," said lieutenant Tom Thorgrimsen at KNM Tyr, the ship that made the discovery last week.

A memorial ceremony was held on Saturday for the victims, with over a thousand British and Norwegian soldiers taking part.

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KNM Tyr is designed for deep water operations, and was testing new equipment which can reach depths of 1,000 meters below the surface.

HMS Hunter, an H-class destroyer, sank after taking hits from German forces, leading it to collide with another British vessel, HMS Hotspur.

"This is a big fjord, and it has not been a priority to find the vessel earlier," Norwegian Navy spokesman John Inge Oglaend told Reuters, adding that there are thousands of shipwrecks along the Norwegian coast, making work difficult.

Supply of iron ore, which was transported to the ice-free port of Narvik from Kiruna in Sweden was the direct cause of the battles. Both sides wanted to secure its iron supply, used to produce steel, while denying it to the enemy.

(Reporting by Aasa Christine Stoltz; editing by Keith Weir)

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