Society of Bexhill Museums
From Bexhill-on-sea Observer
The struggle to get wrecks protected was fascinatingly recounted and illustrated with slides by Dr Peter Marsden, of the Shipwreck and Coastal Heritage Centre, at Hastings at the Bexhill Museum lecture on Wednesday, January 7.
We heard about four local wrecks - the English warship 'Anne' in 1690 off Pett Level, one of the 30 new ships approved by Charles 11 in 1670; The 'Amsterdam' in 1749, the Dutch East Indiaman, off Bulverhythe on its maiden voyage to Batavia; The Danish ship 'Thomas Lawrence' in 1862 en route to the Caribbean - and how in the 1980s Customs and Excise still wanted the customs duty when 500 bottles of cognac were eventually brought ashore!
Finally the 'Storaa', originally a Danish merchant ship, torpedoed in November 1943, 10 miles off Beachy Head and in which 21 men died.
The story of the subsequent struggle through the courts resulted in this being the first merchant ship to be protected as a war grave by law as recently as May 2007.
The next lecture entitled Four Brothers And A Friend Called Dan about the experiences of a Sussex village whose sons served with the Sussex Regiment during the Great War, is at 2.30 pm on Wednesday, January 21, at St Augustine's Hall, off Cooden Drive.