The Thistlegorm was a British transport ship, built to transport war material and supplies for the English army stationed in Egypt. Crossing the Suez Canal had always been deemed to be a safe route, but the route became blocked by a ship that had run aground on a bomb. The Thistlegorm therefore anchored in the Strait of Gubal where it was sighted by two German bombers (Heinkel He III) during the night of October 5 to 6, 1941. They attacked the ship and hit the ammunition depot. Due to the violent explosion the ship broke into two parts and sank 55 minutes later. The 126t heavy locomotives mounted on the deck were thrown into the air during the explosion and sank 30m away from the ship. A large part of the crew was rescued by HMS Carlisle – nine men, however, died in the sinking. In 1955, Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau discovered the wreck with his research vessel, Calypso, but he kept the exact position for himself, which is why the wreck was only rediscovered by Israeli divers in 1992 and quickly became one of the most visited destinations in the Red Sea. The exploration of the historical wreck takes place in two dives: first a general visit from the outside and in a second dive we explore the interior and the holds.
INFORMATIONOwner:Albyn LineBuilder:Joseph Thompson & sonYear of construction:1940Home port:Glasgow, scotlandTonnage:4’989 tLength:128mWidth:17.5mPropulsion:three-cylinder steem engineSpeed:1’860 PS / 10.5 knotCrew:39-41 men (depends on the information source)CARGOAmmunition, various bombs, tank mines, Lee Enfield MK III rifles, approx. 100 motorcycles, cars (Morris), trucks (Bedford), 2 light tanks (MKII), 2 steam locomotives, car and aircraft spare parts.
DIVE 1Following a rope, you reach the wreck thanks to a strong tidal current. The deepest part of the ship is the stern at a depth of 30m. You can see the propeller with four wings and the rudder. If you dive around the stern you come to a machine gun and a small anti-aircraft gun. Further towards the bow you pass the wide rupture and a chimney opening to the command bridge and the captain's cabin with its bath. Over the holds you come to the bow with the well-preserved anchor winch. On the historical wreck you can find crocodile fish, scorpion fish and, around the wreck, shoals of different fish species, such as batfish, swim against the current.DIVE 2During the second dive we explore the exciting inner world of the Thistlegorm. In hold 2 you will find two levels on which trucks and masses of motorcycles are stored – some with sidecars. Look through the window into a car and you are bound to spot one or two sea creatures. In the lower level you can find more vehicles, as well as aircraft parts and a stock of rubber boots. In hold 1 your dive into history continues and you will find rifles, aircraft engine parts, medicine boxes and power generators, all telling their part of the story of the 2nd World War and now peacefully buried in the blue water. On this dive with us, you will see a piece of history and experience a fascinating dive at the same time! It is important to dive carefully at this historic site and respect the wreck. Too much has already been damaged or stolen by inexperienced divers and the wreck is slowly falling apart due to the rust caused by divers’ air bubbles. Everyone should do their part to help preserve this extraordinary historical monument.