Explore our First World War Forgotten Wrecks Database, which includes photos, videos, 3D models, artefacts, acoustic images, site reports, and more.
Life aboard a vessel during the First World War was adventurous, exhilarating and treacherous. But for many of the military and civilian personnel who fared our seas and waterways, their stories, along with the navel, merchant and passenger ships that bore them, were lost beneath the waves with little or no recognition. A largely forgotten piece of First World War history, with much of our attention and resource being spent on the Western Front and a few major navel events such as the battles of Jutland and Dogger Bank, we believe this heritage, along with its untold stories of fierce resilience, duty and bravery, deserves to be recorded and disseminated with as much enthusiasm. Our interactive First World War Wreck Database offers us the chance to finally explore this forgotten world.
To explore our database, click the map viewer and follow the on-screen instructions for a guided tour of the app’s resources and features. Among the recorded wrecks, see if you can locate the HMS Formidable and discover what alleged item was thrown overboard as a makeshift raft in the battleship’s final hours. Our database includes a photo of some of the Formidable’s 233 survivors, which was posted in January 1915. There is also a detailed overview of the vessel, including its builder, launch year, captain and armament, along with further photos and facts linked to its history. Resources like these, for many hundreds of wreck sites, have helped us piece together many of the previously untold events and stories that took place at sea during the First World War.
As you can see, our Forgotten Wrecks Database is more than simply a map – it’s a vast collection of photos, videos and other engaging assets and information, which together build a rich and detailed account of life at sea during the First World War. See below for a full list of content types:
PHOTOS: Our database features over 500 photos, sourced from a mix of museums and individuals. Depicting everything from windswept rescuees to coal boys hard at work in engine rooms, they offer a stark glimpse into the ruggedness and toil of life at sea during wartimes.
VIDEO: We have over 100 videos and 48 hours of dive footage from wreck sites; these fascinating underwater scenes are a solemn reminder of the terrifying ordeal that many thousands of men and women endured at sea.
3D MODELS: An engaging and interactive resource, our 3D models offer a detailed exploration of wreck sites and recovered artefacts.
ARTEFACTS: For those with an interest in artefacts, our ‘Artefact images’ filter will take you to the sites where artefacts have been successfully recovered and photographed.
SITE: See ‘Site remains’ for a detailed account of wreck sites, including wreck depth, cargo hold contents, details of recovery missions and more.
LOSS: ‘Circumstances of loss’ includes an overview of departure and destination details, sink circumstances and times, crew numbers, rescue numbers and more.
DETAILS: Our ‘Vessel details’ includes information on vessel types, flags, date or year lost, crew numbers, fatalities, model specifications and more.
ACOUSTIC IMAGES: Interested in geophysics? Our acoustic images offer a unique subsurface view of otherwise hidden wreck sites.
DOCUMENTS: Our wreck sites have a range of attached documents, including site reports, research forms, cargo lists and themed booklets. These offer a wealth of information that makes for excellent research materials, teaching resources or light reading.
We hope you enjoy exploring our Forgotten First World War Wrecks Database. Please get in touch if you have any further questions about any of our resources or wreck sites.