Landing Craft Tank 254

Coastguard donates shipwreck research to museum

Raymond Morris, left, with Philip Chappell

By Joanna Davis - Dorset Echo

A coastguard who became intrigued by a local shipwreck mystery has donated research that he spent years building up to a national museum. 

Philip Chappell’s project on Landing Craft Tank 254 running aground off Chesil Beach on October 13, 1944, started off as a work assignment and evolved into a three-year passion.

Weymouth resident Mr Chappell, who works for the Portland Coastguard as a watch assistant, began researching the naval disaster in which 11 men died, as a station requirement.

He said: “I found out that two coastguards died as a result of a Looking Back piece in the Dorset Echo.

“It was the coastguard connection that interested me and as soon as I found out about the two coastguards, I delved into it because of the local interest.

“That’s when I decided to take it on as a personal research project and it took off.

“Before I knew it I had amassed rather a lot of information.”

Grandad Mr Chappell spent hours in Weymouth Library looking through microfiche and scouring through national archives and officer service records to find out more.

He researched the life of Captain John Legh, the first coastguard who died and whose body was never recovered from the sea.