Looting on the Lancastria

Inger Sheil

Dec 3, 2000
While doing a search, I came across the following passage on a site arguing for the protection of war graves from some of the more unscrupulous members of the diving community:


The final resting place of the Lancastria and those unlucky souls is in shallow water not too far off the French coastline. She is protected by the French government, yet only two years ago a boatload of British divers were caught trying to remove artefacts from her. Their equipment was seized and they were held in custody before finally being deported as 'undesirables' - British divers scavenging from British victims.

The site, 'Will we remember them?' can be found at http://www.990mag.com/hremem.htm

I've done some googling based on a few different search perameters and haven't come up with anything confirming this story. Has anyone heard of the incident? Artifact retrieval is an extremely controversial issue in the diving community, although following the 'Wreck Amnesty' and consultative groups involving survivors' associations, government, archaelogical and dive groups, some (but by no means all) of the rancour has gone out of the debate here in Britain. There's now more of a move to involve divers in marine archaelogical works. However, I image that few would ever countenance private individuals taking 'souveneirs' from the tragic Lancastria. The case mentioned above must have generated some media - does anyone recall it?

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