US Team Finds Sunken WWII Sub

HMS Olympus found on sea floor near Malta

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 12, 2012 4:16 AM CST | Updated Jan 12, 2012 6:32 AM CST

(Newser) – The watery grave of scores of British servicemen has been found nearly 70 years after their submarine was sunk by a mine off the coast of Malta. A team from the American marine archaeology group Aurora Trust used a remotely operated vehicle to find the HMS Olympus on the floor of the Mediterranean, the Guardian reports. Out of the 98 men aboard—including many survivors of three earlier submarine sinkings in the area—only nine survived both the sinking and the seven-mile swim to shore.

"One of the survivors told me how he looked back from the water to the incongruous sight of all these shoes and boots lined up in neat rows on the deck as the sub was sinking," a naval historian says. Apart from the mine damage, "she was in pristine condition, sitting upright as if she'd been placed on the seabed," says the Aurora Trust's archeological director, who stresses that the site was treated sensitively. The team's mission, he says, is mapping "the underwater landscape of war." British authorities plan to formally designate the site as a war grave.

The HMS Olympus in Malta's Grand Harbor, December 1941. It was sunk in May 1942.
The HMS Olympus in Malta's Grand Harbor, December 1941. It was sunk in May 1942.   (Wikipedia)
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