Museum Locates Last Wreck of the Battle of Jutland

Published Sep 19, 2016 9:19 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Sea War Museum Jutland can now claim a singular accomplishment: it has found the final resting place of the cruiser HMS Warrior, the last missing vessel sunk in the Battle of Jutland, and just in time for the centennial anniversary of the historic event. 

"Unlike the other warship wrecks from the Battle of Jutland, which are partially exploded and exposed at lower depths, the wreck of HMS Warrior is a time capsule with all contents intact. The armored hull means that all content in the Warrior will be very well preserved for many years yet," the museum said in a statement. 

JD-Contractor's survey ship Vina, under contract to the museum, used multibeam sonar and ROV surveys to located the Warrior. The Vina visited 26 other wreck sites before finally finding the right one, roughly 20 nm from where records said it should be. 

The Warrior’s pristine state is fortunate: vandalism and pillaging of the wrecks of Jutland has become distressingly common, said Dr. Innes McCartney, marine archaeologist who helped in the search. He said that many other sunken vessels the team has found over the years have shown signs of looting – typically missing bronze propellers and boiler condensers, which can be worth tens of thousands in scrap value. 

Lord Boyce, the former head of the Royal Navy, called on the Ministry of Defense to prosecute scrap-hunters who disturb the legally protected war graves. “The MoD should chase these things down,” he told The Guardian. “When I was involved in the MoD we took grave looting quite seriously and I absolutely believe that criminals should be pursued to discourage others as much as anything else. 

The Warrior's final resting place remained lost for so long because she was abandoned some time before she went down. 71 were killed aboard in heavy fighting during the Battle of Jutland, and the surviving crew transferred onto the HMS Engadine. An attempt to tow the damaged Warrior back to port had to be aborted due to heavy weather, and she drifted off and sank sometime in the first few days of June 1916. 

Jutland was the last full-scale naval engagement to turn on  confrontations between groups of battleships. The battle's outcome was inconclusive with heavy casualties on both sides: Great Britain lost 14 ships and 6,000 dead, Germany lost 11 ships and 2,500 dead, plus many more wounded.

In addition to the Warrior, the Vina also found the German submarine UC 30, complete with 18 unexploded mines and 6 torpedoes. The submarine is in Danish waters and had not previously been located.