Site of HMS Thetis beaching

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Site of HMS Thetis beaching

In September 1939 the wreck of the new submarine Thetis was brought ashore to the beach just below the cliff where Moelfre Seawatch Centre now stands. It took several weeks to remove the bodies of the 99 sailors who had died inside the submarine.

photo_of_thetis_wreckThe submarine was built by Cammell Laird of Birkenhead and put to sea on 1 June 1939 for a day’s testing. More than 100 people were on board, roughly twice the number in the normal crew for such a vessel. Some were officers in other submarines who wanted to see the latest technology for themselves. Also on board were engineers from Cammell Laird.

Some small errors combined to cause the submarine to sink on its first attempted dive in Liverpool Bay. Only the stern could be raised above the surface, but the escape hatch remained underwater. Only four men escaped from the submarine. The bad luck continued weeks later, when a diver involved in the salvage operation died of “the bends” after getting into difficulties and surfacing too quickly.

The pressures of war dictated that Thetis was rebuilt rather than scrapped. As HMS Thunderbolt it sank several enemy ships before being wrecked by depth charges in the Mediterranean in 1943.

This photo of Thetis beached at Moelfre was taken by Harry Rogers Jones, and is shown here by kind permission of David Rogers Jones.

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: LL72 8HY

Other SHIPWRECK HiPoints in this region:
Statue of Dic Evans – lifeboat cox won two gold medals for rescuing mariners
Bangor Pier – see photos of wooden battleship which ran aground near here in 1953

Other MILITARY HiPoints in this area:
Traeth Lafan, Llanfairechan - where a failed invasion of Anglesey was based on a pontoon over the Menai Strait
Llangefni war memorial

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