Forgotten Wrecks of WWI

30 Mar 2017 - 29 Jun 2017

Margate Museum will be hosting an exhibition that tells the story of the hundreds of First World War shipwrecks lying just off our shores.
Remains from the Great War lie (largely hidden and unknown) just off our south coast shores. Many are the final resting place of those who lost their lives when the vessels sank.

There are approximately 1000 wrecks off the south coast of England dating to the First World War.

They were lost due to torpedo attacks, scuttling, hitting mines, collisions, bad weather, poor communication and misfortune. The ships were of all shapes and sizes and carried out a myriad of different tasks and activities when they were lost.

Fascinating and moving accounts of bravery and sacrifice surrounding these sites are being revealed by the Maritime Archaeology Trust through their Heritage Lottery Funded Forgotten Wrecks of the First World War project.

The four-year project aims to bring together personal and family information, artefact records, historic and archaeological research, and tell the stories behind the sites.

Some of these stories, together with artefacts recovered from wrecks, are being displayed in a temporary exhibition being hosted by Margate Museum between 30th March and 28th April 2017, and then at the Defence of the Nation Museum, Ramsgate (28th April – 29th June 2017). The exhibition can currently be seen (until 29th March 2017) at Rochester Guildhall.

The Dover Strait was an important area of water during the war combining, as it did, the shortest crossing between Britain and the front line of the Western Front with the dangers of being the nearest piece of coast to the German U-boat bases in Belgium.

First World War wrecks which have been discovered off the Kent coast and feature in the exhibition include HMS Nubian - a Tribal class destroyer struck and sunk by a torpedo, SS Lusitania - a British merchant ship that was sunk off Folkestone six months before its more famous namesake RMS Lusitania was torpedoed off the southern coast of Ireland, and HMHS Anglia - a hospital ship carrying nearly 400 wounded which struck a mine, resulting in the loss of more than 160 lives.

Amanda Bowens of the Maritime Archaeology Trust said: “The project is starting to turn up all manner of personal links and stories connected with these sites, both through research and from relatives of survivors and casualties. People often seem surprised that anybody beyond the family should be interested in what they know."

This exhibition coincides with our new booklet Shipwrecks of the Channel Crossing

A growing army of volunteers are helping with all aspects of the project. If you would like to get involved, please see

For further information, please contact:
Amanda Bowens at the MAT on

£1.50 for Adults
Accompanied children under 16 Free

Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays 11am - 5pm (last entry 4pm)