HMS Poseidon: China’s Secret Salvage of Britain’s Lost Submarine – Maritime China 5

August 2023

The British submarine HMS Poseidon sank off the Chinese coast during normal exercises in 1931 having struck a freighter. Just over half of her crew made it out of the hatches as she sank. Twenty-six remained trapped. Eight of those attempted to surface using an early form of diving equipment specifically designed for submarine escapes. Five of those survived and became national heroes. And then, at an unknown time in the subsequent years, the Chinese government secretly raised the wreck. To find out more about this remarkable story which takes us through themes of imperialism, international sea power, the development of submarine and diving technology and medical history, Dr Sam Willis spoke with historian Steen Schwankert. Editor and award-winning reporter with seventeen years of experience in Greater China, Steven is the Asia chapter chair of The Explorers Club, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and founder of SinoScuba, Beijing’s first professional scuba-diving operator. Steven uncovered this story and spent many years researching it. He is the author of the book Poseidon: China’s Secret Salvage of Britain’s Lost Submarine.

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    Sam Willis 

    From the Society for Nautical Research in partnership with Lloyd’s Register Foundation, I’m Sam Willis. And this is the Mariners Mirror podcast, the world’s number one podcast dedicated to all of maritime history. Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Mariners Mirror podcast and our continuing series on maritime China. Today we’re exploring a fascinating intersection of Chinese and British culture, in a story that not only takes us into themes of imperialism and international sea power, but also to the development of submarines. I think you must instinctively know if you have what’s required to be a submariner, and I can confidently celebrate the fact that I have none of it. Enclosed spaces, cramped conditions, invisible enemies, well, that’s no good to me. In particular I have the utmost admiration for those who became submariners before the real science and practice of being a submariner was properly understood, which brings us to HMS Poseidon. Now Poseidon sank off the Chinese coast during normal exercises in 1931 having struck a freighter.  She had 56 crew; 30 made it out of the hatches as she sank, 26 remained trapped. Eight of those attempted to surface using an early form of diving equipment specifically designed for submarine escape; five survived and they became heroes. But that is only part of this story, because at some point, in complete secrecy, the Chinese raised the wreck. This remarkable story has recently been investigated by the historian and diver Steven Schwankert, and it has been published in his excellent book Poseidon, China’s secret salvage of Britain’s last submarine. Steven Schwankert is an editor and award winning reporter with 17 years of experience in Greater China. He is the Asia Chapter Chair of the Explorers Club, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and founder of Sinoscuba, Beijing’s first professional scuba diving operator. He was also the historian involved in the remarkable film, the Six, which we have covered in a previous podcast in our maritime China series, cataloguing the six Chinese passengers who survived the Titanic disaster. As ever, I hope you enjoy listening to him as much as I enjoyed talking with him. Here is the man who not only leaves no stone unturned in his quest for the truth, but no leaf, no boulder. He would even turn over raindrops if he could. Here is the fabulous Steven.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Steven, it’s lovely to have you on the podcast today.

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    Thank you for having me, Sam. It’s an honour.

     

    Sam Willis 

    It’s not often that I don’t know how to start interrogating someone, to start asking questions. This is such an amazing story, and I’ve come to know a colleague of yours, Arthur Jones, who’s made a film about this. I’ve just watched the film, which is absolutely extraordinary. I suppose it’s complicated because it’s a story both about Poseidon but it’s also a story about you discovering the story of Poseidon. There are two aspects of it aren’t there?  How did you first come across the story?

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    I opened my own dive operation in China in Beijing in 2003, Sinoscuba.  We were really challenged for places to dive there, diving was not well developed at that point.  There were a number of foreigners who were living in Beijing or Shanghai and they had an interest in it, or they brought that interest with them. Chinese people were just getting to a point where they were travelling and learning to dive and discovering the oceans and realising that they could do some discovering of their own. But there were not a lot of dive sites, you could go down to Hainan Island and maybe get a little tropical diving. But especially at that time travelling to even Southeast Asia was somewhat difficult, it was somewhat expensive, it wasn’t really well developed. So I was just interested in diving near Beijing, where could we go? Were there quarries, were there just training areas that we could use, lakes that we could access? And so I just spent a lot of time looking at maps, Googling you know, using the magic explorer shipwreck terms on Google, shipwreck and China shipwreck and some other place name, whatever. And  I like to say that I discovered a shipwreck using Google. I mean I  typed in, I think it was Weihai you know, the place in Shandong Province, Weihai  and shipwreck, and probably result number eight on that list was something about a British submarine that I had never heard of sunk somewhere near there in 1931. And I thought, what is  this? What is this about? And so   straight down the rabbit hole I went, and  by the time I finally pushed myself away from the computer that night, I thought I’ve got to go dive this, who is diving this, how do we get there? And then let’s go, how do we do this?

     

    Sam Willis 

    So help our listeners out and explain why the British were at Weihai.

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    So there was a colony called Weihai, probably one of the least known colonies in British Empire history. And it really was just a lot of different powers trying to get their piece of northern China. The Russians had an area up near Dalian, the Japanese took a bit; if you’ve heard of of Qingdao beer or Tsingtao beer, you know, that was the German bit of China, not  so far from where Weihai  was. And the British of course, said, well, we’ve got to get our piece to. And so they took this little piece on the northeast tip of Shandong Province, which if you look at a map of China, it sticks out from an area south of Beijing. As an American I think of it as the Cape Cod of China, it’s sort of the  same geographical area, it  looks similar. So they held on to that  area for about, I don’t know, 40 years, they never did much with it. And then finally, at the end of it, they decided, well, we’re not really doing anything with this, and we’d like to have better relations with China. So let’s give it back. But we’re going to keep this one area in the harbour, we’re going to keep this one island in the harbour for a naval base for the next 10 years. And that’s where our beloved HMS Poseidon comes into play.

     

    Sam Willis 

    When I first heard about the story, the thing that really struck me was that there was a submarine there in 1930s. And in terms of submarine capability, it’s quite impressive getting a British submarine to somewhere near Beijing in the 30s isn’t it.?

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    So it was. These submarines were pretty advanced for the day, I wouldn’t say they were the super carriers of their day, but they were quite powerful, more so in terms of projecting force than a non nuclear submarine would be today,  and also because of the Washington Naval Treaty, which restricted the construction of larger surface ships. The British Navy just couldn’t really spare good surface ships for what was essentially patrol duty. So submarines were cheaper, they had an excess of them. And so they deployed a number of them there really just to  keep an eye on everybody, keep an eye on Japan, keep an eye on the Russians, just make sure things didn’t get out of hand in northern China.

     

    Sam Willis 

    How big were they, how many crew, how many torpedoes? What are we talking about in terms of this submarine?

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    Yes, well let’s start with what happened.

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    So I think it was about 16 torpedoes, a crew of about 70 including officers  not quite 300 feet long. So a substantial craft, but certainly not a battleship.

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    So, it was a day just like any other day, June 9 1931.  HMS Poseidon goes out for just a training exercise, they’re going t  fire some torpedoes, some dummy torpedoes, at a target ship. So a few surface ships join them out there.  And the Commander is Lieutenant Commander Bernard W. Galpin at the helm, and he is teaching his Lieutenant how to perform a submarine attack on the surface, so they’re not using the gun, it’s a torpedo attack. Something standard you would do at night  but they’re going to practice in the day. They’re at a dead stop and coming into the target area is the SS Yuta; in Chinese it’s Yuta but it’s pronounced like the American State. So Yuta  is just a coastal steamer, it’s a cargo ship, it’s carrying a load of cement from one place on the China coast to another and it’s just on a steady course, and it’s just happening to come into to the target area.  Galpin decides that he should teach his junior officer that to get into position sometimes the easiest way is not to make the shortest turn. So what he wants him to do is to come around, basically make a 270 degree turn to get into a proper firing position against HMS Marazion which is the target ship. He probably noticed Yuta coming through, he probably thought that they would just avoid each other, and therein lies his big mistake. So he start engines, starts to make his turn, he’s still coming through his turn, Yuta has not changed course. The turn keeps coming, the turn keeps coming,  and  then all of a sudden they realise we’re on a collision course..

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    Both vessels turn in the direction they shouldn’t have turned, so Yuta  turns to starboard, Poseidon turns to port and now they’re really on a collision course. And Galpin hopes that Poseidon is going  to come out of its turn quickly enough that they end up parallel. It’s not, the turning radius just isn’t that tight, and Yuta  hits Poseidon almost right in front of the conning tower and she  immediately starts to take on water. Galpin commands abandon ship.  Most of the the officers and the crew come out through the conning tower, but about 24 or 25 crew men go down with Poseidon to the bottom.  So in many cases, that would be the end of the story, however, what makes Poseidon special is that in the forward torpedo room, you had  five Navy men and two Chinese boys, what they referred to as boys.  In this case they were not younger men but boy was a term that referred to a mate, a helper.

     

    Sam Willis 

    They’re in danger of getting flooded, aren’t they? So the first thing they need to do is to make sure that they’re sealed.

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    Right, so Chief Petty Officer Patrick Willis, no relation to you I think.

     

    Sam Willis 

    I need to find this out. There are a lot of Willis’s in the Navy I tell you, my  grandfather, his father, are  two of them. And so yes, and one of them was at Wehai in 1926.  So it wouldn’t surprise me.

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    Indeed.  So Chief Petty Officer Patrick Willis takes command of the situation, looks around, says OK, we’re not going to make it if we stay here, we need to flood up and we need to try to make an escape. So really quick thinking on his part.

     

    Sam Willis 

    And so seal themselves int  the chamber at the front.

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    Right, they seal themselves in but they’re now on the bottom at 40 metres, 130 feet. So if you’ve done your PADI Open Water Course you know that they’re right at the edge of what we consider recreational diving today. So, they’re breathing the air in the chamber, and what they have working for them is that they have on board sets of the Davis submerged escape apparatus. So this is a Proto scuba device; basically, it’s a life preserver with an air source, think of it that way.

     

    Sam Willis 

    The scuba has not been invented yet anyway, it doesn’t exist.

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    Scuba doesn’t exist. The gas canister in this is pure oxygen, it’s not air, it’s not compressed air. So that presents its own problems, but they decide OK we’re going to use the Davis gear, we’re going to flood up and then we’re going to squeeze through the torpedo hatch. Now this is not the torpedo tube where the torpedo was fired, this is a loading hatch on the top of the submarine from which they would load torpedoes down into the forward  torpedo room. So Willis computes all this in his head, says OK fine, we’re going to flood up. So they start to flood the chamber. They open up a couple of valves and it takes about two and a half hours for them to get to the point where they’re ready.

     

    Sam Willis 

    That’s extraordinary, what time of year is this?

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    So this is June.  They’re at the bottom of the Bohai Sea, which is not known for being particularly warm and cosy,. it’s not the Caribbean Sea for sure. So they flood up and then in the meantime there a few things going on.  One of the submariners starts to panic, he feels  he’s not getting enough air, he starts to breathe off of his Davis set, and that’s not going to go well. As Willis said in one of his later accounts he drifted away, and was never seen again, so we know he didn’t make it out of the forward torpedo room,

     

    Sam Willis 

    Just explain the problem that you can’t breathe pure oxygen.

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    So first of all, breathing pure oxygen even at the surface is problematic. I mean we do it for athletes, we do it for people who are injured, but breathing pure oxygen is not great for human physiology, it’s not great for the lungs, and then especially to be breathing it at pressures. So 40 metres would be five atmospheres, so it’s almost like breathing 500% Oxygen. The smarter submariners among them just breathe the air; even as it was getting fouled by their own carbon dioxide it was still probably better to breathe. Plus, it also meant that if you breathe your oxygen before you start to make your escape, you have no gas to breathe on the way up.

     

    Sam Willis 

    So but it’s OK to use it once you’ve left the submarine?

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    Absolutely.

     

    Sam Willis 

    It’s because of the pressure difference, right?

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    It’s not great. But they’re not going that far, it’s not going to take them that long.

     

    Sam Willis 

    So we’re losing one submariner, he’s drifted off.

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    One submariner has drifted off, then they realised they didn’t have enough Davis sets for everyone in the room. One of the Chinese boys who wasn’t going to get one started to panic, so  they said, OK, well when we make our escape we’re going to knock him out and then bring him with us unconscious You know if you’ve seen the film Cave, you know that it’s easier to manipulate somebody when they’re unconscious.

     

    Sam Willis 

    OK, so one of them was panicking, they decided to knock him out and take him with them and the other one

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    The other one known as Ah Hai is given a set, he’s shown how to use it. So finally, after about two and a half hours, they say, OK, let’s try  to pop the hatch.  So they  try to do it, they  can’t do, it the pressure is too great.. All right. So they wait about 15 more minutes, they try it again. And I mean, just imagine 130 feet or 40 metres worth of water trying to push back on you as you’re pushing a heavy hatch. I mean, how they even did it is amazing, plus they had to go up and out at an angle  because it’s an angled hatchthrough which they are loading torpedoes. So in the end six of them went out the hatch, the unconscious Chinese boy was lost on the way up. One of the men died during the ascent. And then so in the end you have four submariners, including Willis, and Ah Hai, the Chinese boy, they all make it to the surface and they all survive.

     

    Sam Willis 

    In terms of successful submarine escapes using escape equipment this is a pretty significant moment in history, isn’t it?

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    Absolutely.  For anybody who’s taken any kind of a scuba course, when we talk about decompression sickness, a lot of what we know about decompression sickness actually came from this incident. It’s in  medical literature;  there was an article in The Lancet about it at the time. This is really a seminal moment in barometric or hyperbaric medicine, I should say. So in the end, they they make it

     

    Sam Willis 

    I heard a description from Willis saying when he went up, just before he passed out, he felt like he was being torn apart by incredible pain.

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    Yes. So being being at the bottom for three hours in a chamber like that, basically they were just loading up their bodies on nitrogen. And so you know, when we talk about the bends when we talk about decompression sickness, essentially they were bent quite badly.  Again, to use a recreational diving example, I think the bottom time now for 40 metres is about nine minutes. And these guys did about three hours so that with no decompression it’s amazing that any of them survived really. The after effects were significant, Willis was debilitated later in life. One of the other men, there’s footage of him at his daughter’s wedding and he’s using crutches to walk his daughter down the aisle, I mean it’s  just really terrible stuff. And then later on there was further research that proved that this single exposure to decompression sickness was enough to cause  bone degradation later in life.  It had been previously thought that you needed multiple exposures, and this incident proved you only needed one.  So they emerged as heroes; they were the only men that made it out from Poseidon to the surface, the other 18 men that weren’t in the forward torpedo room, they’re still on eternal patrol, and Willis got the Albert medal

     

    Sam Willis 

    This is all front page news, properly famous.

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    I think listeners to the podcast will probably be familiar with the sinking of the Kursk, the Russian submarine, and it was the same kind of thing, it was front page coverage. And there was a feature film made about it later in 1931, called Men Like These, which really focuses on Willis’s heroism and the story of the men in the forword torpedo room. It was forgotten because when World War II comes around there’s so many other tales of heroism that something interwar is just not really going to stand out in the same way, people aren’t going to remember it in the same way. So when I learned all of this I thought where is this submarine? How are we going to get out there, and

     

    Sam Willis 

    Here is the kink in the story, Steven, which is what makes this truly fantastic. So off you went, I’ll go and find the submarine, have a look, and something got in the way,

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    Yes, something got in the way. So you know, at the risk of ruining the documentary and my fine book on the subject for your listeners, so much of this took place either on Google or in a library that I didn’t even manage to get wet. My research was a bit too good. So  in the course of the research  I read Chinese, not particularly well, but I read it enough to be somewhat functional. And in the course of my research I found a reference to something about this submarine being lifted off the bottom. And I thought, what does that mean? So I took that particular passage to a Chinese friend, and I said what  does this phrase that I don’t understand mean? And she said, lift, raise? And I said does that mean that they lifted the submarine off the bottom? And she said, yes. So in 1972,

     

    Sam Willis 

    They being the Chinese?

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    They being the Chinese navy; they raise the submarine as part of the development of their nuclear submarine fleet. One of the things that you want to do when you develop a nuclear submarine fleet is to  know that you can get them back. And so here was a ready made target, a  way for them to practice, and apparently it was also hooking fishing nets. And although it wasn’t a hazard to navigation,  finally they decided, OK let’s, let’s bring this up.

     

    Sam Willis 

    And so I think we should leave this part of the story there for those who should read the book.  I have to say it’s one of the best books on naval history I’ve ever read, and the film is itself absolutely fantastic. It’s the detective work that you had to do to try and unpick it all, that’s what I thought was really impressive. Because I’ve done a lot of work in China, and there’s a wonderful bit in the film where you talk about the  Chinese man with the keys. Tell me about that and how you get things done.

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    The way that responsibility is divided up in China, at that time, certainly 20 years ago, when  we started working on this, if you needed access to a building or to something you would go to  find the man with the key, because there would be one key and one person would have it. And the problem was if that person was sick and didn’t come to work that day, or  went off to have lunch or fell asleep, or didn’t want to help you, then you couldn’t open the door. So a lot of it is just about finding the right people and I mean ultimately our motives were pure, we were interested in trying to find this thing and finding out the full story, we weren’t there to accuse anyone.  We just really wanted to know the full history from both sides, what was the history of the salvage, what was the full history of the families and their service on board, and those who lost relatives on board. And now that people have spent two or three years in lockdown,which I’m sure everyone remembers fondly, anybody who did a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle, our puzzle was just not dumped on the kitchen table, our puzzle was all over the world.  Part of it was in Hong Kong, and part of it was in Shandong, and part of it was in the UK. And we just had to go and pick up the pieces and try to put them together and look at the whole picture.

     

    Sam Willis 

    The 70s in China,  that was a pretty tough time for the Chinese as well. A lot of them would find that a difficult time to remember, let alone a difficult time to remember if someone’s pointing a camera at them,

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    Oh sure, definitely a tough time, a time when resources were definitely lacking.  Let’s be honest, both then and now, the Bohai Sea is essentially a large Chinese pond.  There was nobody that was going to discover them doing some kind of salvage activity in the middle of the Bohai Sea back then, nobody would have paid attention to it. I think there might have been a little bit of embarrassment on the Admiralty side because the article that I discovered  that described the salvage was something that they could have walked out of the British Embassy for and gone down to the news stand and purchased it for about $1.30. But  I realised that not everybody’s open source intelligence gathering operations extend to hobbyist magazines on naval history in Chinese.

     

    Sam Willis 

    So it went under the radar. And what about finding living relatives of the few who lived, and the majority who died in Poseidon, and did you enjoy that part of the research?

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    Well, to me, that’s really the part that drives you forward.  I mean, if you’re writing about a shipwreck you can say she made this many revolutions, and she was this long, and the beam was this, and so forth. And that’s great, but it doesn’t really connect with a larger audience, it doesn’t really draw in someone who doesn’t know or care much about naval history. Ultimately people connect with people, people connect with people stories, and for probably the first third of my work  the story of Poseidon was really just a story about a lost piece of metal. And then I was contacted via the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, and the archivist there, George Malcolmson. A woman in Canada  had her father’s diary, it was his unpublished diary of his time on board Poseidon and the rest of his time in the Navy.   I mean it was like the Rosetta Stone, it just absolutely brought the whole thing to life he’d described. So Walter Jeffery had been a signalman and he was on Poseidon basically from almost the moment she got her name.  He described the Captain, described Willis, the hero, described, just everything about life on board, the ports that they went to and what they were like. It just sounded like a  very happy vessel, and that meant a very sad end.

     

    Sam Willis 

    I was listening to the speech that the Captain made when he gets back to the UK.  He gets the survivors together and he says, look, guys, you’re here for the last time, I just want to say a few words. And one of my ears really pricked up, what was he going to say here? And he talks about the camaraderie on the ship and how friendly it was, but it seems so genuinely earnest. And often you get a lot of this in naval history, saying, Oh, they were a  particularly good crew, everyone particularly got on.  I always say, well, I’m not entirely sure I believe that.  With subs it’s different because they’re so small, the crews, and if someone says something like that you really need to stop and listen because it’s quite unusual. It’s also plausible, which I think is the  interesting thing, so it does seem to have been a very happy ship.

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    I mean, that’s something that Jeffery conveys a lot, that submariners are a bit of a different breed.  He talks about all the different sports teams that were on board, the football team, and then these guys would play something else, cricket and  so forth. And it sounds like a floating community that happened to fire a dummy torpedo every once in a while.  It really affected Galpin and I spoke to his son at one point and he said my father never talked about it, he never said the name Poseidon to me, everything I know came from newspaper accounts or my mother.  He was deeply ashamed that that he lost men that were under his command. Ultimately he was held responsible; he pled not guilty, but I think he knew deep down that ultimately he was guilty, convicted of hazarding his ship, which means he took it out of the harbour, so of course he knew it, and I think it really weighed very heavily on him.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Yes, we’ve talked a little bit about poor Willis suffering with the bends, and the others. But there’s no treatment or caring for people with PTSD at this stage, and this is a staggeringly traumatic experience.  I was actually appalled when you said they’ve made this feature film in 1931 shortly afterwards, and poor old Willis has to go on to the set and stand there with these guys up to their waist in water pretending to go through the appalling  nightmare that he’s experienced.

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    Sure. Well I think in part at the time he was held up as a hero. So I think the people that made the film, aside from wanting to make a little bit of money, thought of it as honouring him, here’s your story of heroism, here’s your story of success. But, really and truly the strange thing is that even though Galpin was ultimately culpable for the accident, and Willis was held up as the hero, from the moment of the accident onwards, Willis’s life goes down, and Galpi’s  goes up.  Galpin ultimately gets into aviation, and he is employed by Imperial Airways, which later became British Airways. And he zips around the Middle East trying to find places to land flying boats. So he goes on to a very successful career in aviation and dies  I think at  77 or 78. Willis suffers from his injuries, both mental and physical, and he passes away at  56. So after holding a series of jobs, actually he ended up for a time working as an electrician at the film studio where the film was made. So  that really shows you that there was no no particular upside for him for being that hero. And interestingly enough his gravestone makes no mention ofPoseidon, no mention of any purported heroism.  It’s, it’s just his name  if I remember correctly, it doesn’t even have his rank on it, it’s just his name and dates, quite sad.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Well, it’s an amazing story. Why don’t you just tell us how to find out more about it in the book and the documentary.

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    So the Poseidon project, which is the documentary is available, it’s video on demand via Vimeo. So  I would search for the Poseidon project in quotes on vimeo.com,  and then Poseidon, which has a very long subtitle, China’s secret salvage of Britain’s last submarine, just to get all the keywords in there, is available from Amazon, both in Kindle and in published format, and hopefully some fine bookstores near you.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Well, brilliant, thank you very much indeed for sharing the story with us Steven. Brilliant stuff.

     

    Steven Schwankert 

    Thanks for having me, Sam.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Thank you all so much for listening. Here’s my usual call to leave us a rating or review wherever you are listening to these podcasts. It’s very quick and easy and makes all the difference in our constant quest to educate the world about how important maritime history is whilst demonstrating how enormously entertaining and fun it is at the same time. And if you leave us review, I promise I will read it out. Make sure you check out our YouTube channel which has now had well over a million views. We’ve just made some very entertaining little videos inspired by the crazy appearance of rock nodules raised from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean by the Challenger expedition in 1876. What a mad sentence that is, but you have to see it to believe it.  Under a microscope rock nodules look like some kind of graphic novel from the 1960s, I think they’re brilliant. But that’s it for now, more Chinese maritime history coming your way soon with the Maritime Silk Road. Please don’t forget that this podcast comes from both the Lloyd’s Register Foundation and the Society for Nautical Research. Do everything you can to check out what those fabulous institutions are doing. In particular, please check out Maritime Innovation In Miniature that’s the Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s latest project, filming the world’s best ship models with the latest camera equipment, it’s absolutely brilliant.  just Google Maritime Innovation In Miniature, and you can find the Society for Nautical Research at snr.org.uk where you can, and you must join up. It’s not only a fabulous way to find out all about the maritime past from the very best in the business, but it’s a really lovely way of meeting people.

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