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Royal warship could be raised like the Mary Rose


The wreck of a royal warship that sank 340 years ago whilst carrying the future King James II could be raised from the seabed in an operation similar to the incredible recovery of the Mary Rose.


The discovery of HMS Gloucester, 28 miles off the coast of Great Yarmouth, was announced last week.

The wreck had been found by amateur divers in 2007 but the news was kept secret to allow many artefacts to be carefully salvaged from the sea.

Professor Claire Jowitt, a maritime history expert at the University of East Anglia, called it the most important maritime discovery since the Mary Rose - the warship from the Tudor navy of King Henry VIII – was raised in 1982.

Now, the former head of the British Army, Lord Dannatt, who is due to chair a charity caring for items recovered from the Gloucester, has said the vessel could be lifted from the seabed.

He said the ship could be brought 'up to the surface like the Mary Rose'. 

The Mary Rose was lifted from the Solent in October 1982 in an operation that was watched by an estimated 60million people on television.  

The 'outstanding' 60-gun Gloucester, a frigate, sank on May 6, 1682 after hitting the Norfolk sandbanks in the southern North Sea.

James Stuart, who would be Britain's last Catholic king, survived the sinking but up to 250 sailors and passengers lost their lives, largely due to his actions.

James barely survived, having delayed abandoning ship until the last minute, needlessly costing the lives of between 130 and 250 people on board who, because of protocol, could not abandon the ship before royalty.

Efforts to locate the Gloucester, led by brothers Julian and Lincoln Barnwell, proved successful in 2007 after a four-year search covering 5,000 nautical miles.

Plans are underway to exhibit artefacts on board the ship that have been brought to land, including clothes, wine bottles and the ship's bell, used to conclusively confirm the wreck was the Gloucester.

The exhibition – jointly curated by the University of East Anglia and Norfolk Museums Service – will be staged for five months at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery from spring next year.