Today’s featured wreck is the “daddy” of them all, the SS Thistlegorm.
This is possibly the most famous shipwreck in the world and certainly the most dived. Much has been written about the Thistlegorm and a search for a video on “You Tube” alone will bring you over 24,300 results. Within any twenty four hours over 300 divers will visit the Thistlegorm and at some periods it can be over a thousand.
It’s said that the Allied forces were amassing troops in the area and German intelligence were looking out for the Queen Mary which was thought to be carrying troops. Two Heinkel He-111 aircraft were dispatched from Crete to destroy the Queen Mary. This search failed but one of the bombers piloted by Ltn. Heinrich Menge from the 26th Kamp Geswader, second Squadron discovered the vessels moored in Safe Anchorage F. Menge went for the largest ship and released his bombs which hit near hold four of what turned out to be the SS Thistlegorm. Hold 4 had ammunition and the blast from the bombs and the explosion led to the loss of the Thistlegorm, four of the crew and five of the Navy Gunners.
The wreck of the Thistlegorm stayed at peace for over a decade until Jacques-Yves Cousteau discovered her by using information from local fishermen. The February 1956 edition of National Geographic clearly shows the ship’s bell in place and Cousteau’s divers in the ship’s Lantern Room. He’s also said to have taken a BSA motorcycle and the ships safe.
In the early 90s as the Red Sea started to become a popular diving destination the Thistlegorm was once again re awakened and has become the legend that it is today.