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Thread: The formal handing-over of the ship's bell of the HMS Vestal

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    The formal handing-over of the ship's bell of the HMS Vestal

    As we reported in an earlier Newsletter, on the 06.05.2007 Joerg discovered, during a dive on the till then unidentified wreck, positive proof that the sunken vessel is the remains of the minesweeper HMS Vestal.
    Due to the sensational nature of the find, in terms of its historical significance and also with respect to the likely wishes of the obvious owners we refrained from announcing the nature of the find at the time. The raised item was indeed the ship's bell of the HMS Vestal.
    After successfully cleaning the bell it was clear to us that this was a valuable relic and we did not hesitate to contact the British Admiralty to discuss the next steps to be taken. Although it was clear to us even then that we would have to give up this unique find, we were of the opinion that it would be in the interest of all parties concerned for the bell to be accessible to as wide a public as possible. After numerous discussions with a representative from the British Royal Navy, we agreed to return the bell to them with the aim of having it find a place in a museum. As the ownership of the bell clearly lay with the Navy, the only other alternative open to us was to return the bell to the wreck itself. This did not seem to us to be a good idea.
    On the 25.02.2008, we officially handed over the bell to a representative from the British Military Attache in Bangkok. It is planned to transport the bell back to England with the next available Royal Navy ship or via air transport. Even though it was difficult for us to part with such a wonderful find, we are at the same time very proud to know that with our help the ship's bell of the last British ship to be sunk in the second world war is going home and can take a place of honour in remembrance of the fallen crew of the HMS Vestal.
    Further information about the location of the bell will be published here in due course.
    Andreas and Joerg, Deep Blue Divers Phuket
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    Re: The formal handing-over of the ship's bell of the HMS Vestal

    Very Honourable.......

    You boys have been busy haven't you :D:D

    Regards,

    Lance

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    Re: The formal handing-over of the ship's bell of the HMS Vestal

    Good job fellers, at least now we know which wreck is which.

    I'm English you could have given it to me that would have been the honorable thing to do:D

    If anyone fancy a spot of deep wreck diving these guys run a good technical operation here in Phuket.

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    Re: The formal handing-over of the ship's bell of the HMS Vestal

    Thanks for doing the right thing (and for identifying the wreck). I hope you are suitably credited for both when the bell is displayed. If you find out which museum it will be in, let me know and I'll go and check for you ;)

    Cheers,

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    Re: The formal handing-over of the ship's bell of the HMS Vestal

    Nice one. Well done. You can be proud of yourselves.

    Graham

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    Re: The formal handing-over of the ship's bell of the HMS Vestal

    Honor is its own reward.

    Congratulations.
    Marv

    fidelis Ad Mortem

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    Re: The formal handing-over of the ship's bell of the HMS Vestal

    Guys nice find

    Everyone else - reality check here

    Unless the British Navy have done a 180 degree change of position here they (like most Navies) Do NOT want divers taking anything off their wrecks or entering them. They would preffer divers didnt go searching for, find and bring up the bell.

    In the past (and I suspect in this case also) they will request the divers to 'put it back' (the bell) In situations where that cant be done without risk someone else will take it the next best solution (to them) is that divers hand it over. Either way they wont be thanking you - they want their wrecks (and stuff on them) left alone. Indeed if any of the divers are UK citizens they can and likley would be arrested and charged.

    I thought the location of the Vestel was known anyway? Isnt it on the Admiralty charts??

    Its always fun to find a bell or ID a lost ship, Ive been involved with a few discoveries myself - but lets be clear the Navies dont want you disturbing their wrecks and dont want you bringing the bells up.
    Last edited by Drmike; 14th March 2008 at 11:03.

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    Re: The formal handing-over of the ship's bell of the HMS Vestal

    Quote Originally Posted by Drmike  View Original Post
    Its always fun to find a bell or ID a lost ship, Ive been involved with a few discoveries myself - but lets be clear the Navies dont want you disturbing their wrecks and dont want you bringing the bells up.
    What the Admiralty does or does not want, I would have thought, is of very much secondary importance. It is not they who have lost family members. Before Joerg and Andreas found the wrecks of the Vestal and the Squirrel nobody knew where either was. Until they found the bell, nobody knew which was the Vestal and which the Squirrel. If I had lost a close family member I would like to know at least where the wreck was: that would give some closure. If it had been me that had found it I would have kept the bell on my mantelpiece, but kudos to A&J for handing it over. As they point out, the Vestal has historical importance as the last British ship lost in the war. I would like to think that the bell will now be taken care of and put in a museum where people can see it and spare a thought for the people who died on it, and on all the ships like it.

    Whatever, it's a cracking good wreck and Joerg & Andreas have a great operation that I would recommend to anyone.

  9. #9

    Re: The formal handing-over of the ship's bell of the HMS Vestal

    [IMG]file:///C:/DOKUME%7E1/DBD/LOKALE%7E1/Temp/moz-screenshot.jpg[/IMG]Hi Mike,

    Sorry, but there you totally wrong.
    The position of the HMS Vestal was unknown until the day, we found the bell on this wreck south of Phuket.
    Neither the British Royal Navy nor anybody else knew the sinking position. Until today, only Deep Blue Divers has the exact GPS coordinates for the Vestal.
    Please don’t mix-up the HMS Vestal with the HMS Squirrel.
    In the first email of the Royal Navy, they made their position very clear, and we respect their rules. But not at any time, they asked us to bring the bell back to the wreck.
    If you wont, I will post the email of the British Royal Navy and our answer mail to you.
    Then it becomes clear also for you that we have done the right thing.
    Andreas

  10. #10
    RBW Member tecdivertraining is a name known to all tecdivertraining is a name known to all tecdivertraining is a name known to all tecdivertraining is a name known to all tecdivertraining is a name known to all tecdivertraining is a name known to all tecdivertraining is a name known to all tecdivertraining is a name known to all tecdivertraining is a name known to all tecdivertraining is a name known to all tecdivertraining is a name known to all tecdivertraining's Avatar
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    Re: The formal handing-over of the ship's bell of the HMS Vestal

    Quote Originally Posted by Deep Blue Divers, Phuket  View Original Post
    [IMG]

    only Deep Blue Divers has the exact GPS coordinates for the Vestal.
    I Andreas, I have the co-ordinates to both wrecks so thats not true.

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