Brass cannons clue to wreck of HMS Victory

  HMS Victory 1744

By Vanessa Thorpe

The wreck of one of the most famous ships in British naval history has been discovered by a controversial US marine salvage company - a find that will fuel a major row about the UK's heritage.

HMS Victory, a warship known as "the finest ship in the world", went down with all hands in 1744 off the Channel Islands and its exact location has remained a mystery for more than 250 years.

But now Odyssey Marine Exploration claims it has proof of the whereabouts of the wooden wreck, in which 1,100 seamen died during a fierce storm.

The valuable remains, including 100 brass cannon, would be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds today.

After weeks of secrecy, Odyssey, an American based commercial company which is regularly accused of exploiting historic shipwrecks, plans to unveil artefacts retrieved from the wreck.

HMS Victory led the Channel fleet before Nelson's flagship of the same name and has been described this weekend as of "enormous financial value", as well as historic significance.

Its brass cannon are estimated to be worth £10,000-£20,000 each.

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odyssey marine exploration HMS Victory Channel Islands British warship Maritime Heritage Foundation