Divers' D-Day shipwreck find earns award

By Emma Judd - Portsmouth

A team of divers has been given an award for their work investigating D-Day shipwrecks in the Solent.

The 10 divers from Southsea Sub-Aqua Club have been working on the Neptune Wrecks project for around 18 months, solving mysteries surrounding the wrecks - they even discovered a 500lb bomb last year.

They were invited to Buckingham Palace to receive the British Sub-Aqua Duke of Edinburgh Prize award from Prince Philip in recognition of their work.

Alison Mayor, Neptune Wrecks team leader, said: 'Receiving the Duke of Edinburgh award is certainly the pinnacle of my diving career so far and we are all very proud to have been selected to receive the award against some other excellent projects.

'The Duke of Edinburgh was charming and very interested in our project.'

The project was named after Operation Neptune, the maritime stage of the D-Day invasion of German-occupied France during the Second World War.

Divers looked at how armoured tanks and bulldozers, which had been destined for Juno beach, had come to rest three miles southwest of Selsey Bill.

The team discovered the vehicles had actually come from a landing craft tank which had capsized several miles away.

It was during a survey of the area in August last year that the team discovered the large aerial bomb, which was then towed several miles away and detonated by the Royal Naval Bomb Disposal Team.

Alison added: 'With the help and support of the British Sub-Aqua Jubilee Trust and others we were able to investigate these sites, and by relating what we found with documentary evidence we put the record straight for this one small but traumatic event on the morning of D-Day on this side of the English Channel.

'This has been a fantastic experience for me and members of Southsea who have all benefited in one way or another from their involvement in the projects. Our work has brought club members together with a common focus and goal, and divers are rightly proud of their achievements.'