Why does she have fishing nets around her



Is it possible that she may have carried some weapons, or something top secret? Since Michail said that the British Admiralty still considers some thing Top Secret? And perhaps the Germans knew that she was carrying something, therefore maybe she got struc buy a Torpedoe. I know that some hospital ships have been used in both wars to carry weapons and ammunition. This was a great idea. But Germans knew about some of them, so just maybe, she really was full of ammo?
Jan 5, 2001
Hi Marko!

Let's face it, many things are 'top secret.' I think if she was 'full of ammo' some diver would have noticed. This article of Michail's, with some small contributions from me, helps answer some of your questions:

Best regards,


Steve Smith

Mar 20, 2011
Marko -

As a belated answer to your question - Gaul was a large UK fishing trawler which vanished without trace in 1974 North of Norway. There were all sorts of rumours that she was spying on the USSR and had been sunk by their Navy. The British Government were not exactly keen to search for her - stating that the search area was potentially too large. As Dave says above they quite possibly knew where she was - because local fishermen reported losing their nets on a "new" obstruction on the seabed. Seeing as geological features don't make a habit of roaming round the seabed it was pretty certain to be a new wreck.

For whatever reason, and despite a lot of protest, no search was made at the time - but in the late 90's a TV crew found out about these reports, went out with a sonar and ROV and found the Gaul after about four hours searching... not EXACTLY difficult, after all...

You could draw any number of conclusions about the Admiralty's touchiness on the loss of both Gaul AND Britannic...

Co-incidentally I believe there's another expedition currently at the Gaul using ROV's in an attempt to discover exactly what DID happen


That is something interesting, i remember hearing about the Gual. So did anyone survive on that ship? If someone ever asked me as to what might have happened to her, i'd probably say that she was cought in a really big storm, and just lost it. I know back home in Croatia when i was on the adriatic, some big fishing boats just dissapeared all of a sudden, some still have to be discovered.

Dave Moran

Apr 23, 2002
You are on the ball, Marko. Tragically, no-one survived - part of the mystery of the Gaul was that it was rumoured she was a ' spy -ship' and was fitted out with ' Top Secret ' naval listening equipment in order to track the movements of the Soviet Fleet. Certainly, RN officers had at times put to sea on trawlers operating out of Hull.

This led to speculation that she had either been sunk by the "evil, beastly Soviets" or, worse, that she had been captured by them and the ship had been taken, intact, to Murmansk where the crew had been incarcerated and interrogated. Since the whole thing would then have been a huge international incident, the British and Soviet governments had colluded to hush it all up. Throughout the Cold War of the early eighties this was a strongly believed theory, and the subject of more than one ' documentary' on either the BBC or ITV. You know the sort of thing - dimmed lights, shadowy figures ' who cannot be identified' spilling their guts, and rumours of sealed files.

One more prosaic theory was that she was engaged on a spying mission but had hit a World war 2 mine - this theory can be seen reflected in the opening of the hoary old 007 movie ' For Your Eyes Only' for those interested.

Sadly, the truth was more prosaic. ' Gaul' was, if I recall correctly, a stern loading trawler. She had continued to fish when most of the other trawlers were running before a storm that was getting up. Alas, the seas appear to have simply bashed down the stern doors, and she went to the bottom too quickly to send a distress message, and she was lost with all hands.

There is one point of mystery - near the wreck is a very thick underwater cable which may, just may, be part of some underwater listening device after all. Recently, ' some people' have speculated that, whilst it had nothing to do with her sinking, Gaul went down near a highly secret and sensitive piece of equipment. Personally, I believe this is just the last gasp of the previous ' spy-ship' theories, and an understandable attempt to make some, any, kind of sense out of an all too real human tragedy.

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