The Virtual Trail to SM U 8

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On November 10,2017, a virtual dive to the wreck of SM U 8, which was sunk in the Strait of Dover in February 1915, went online on the Cloudtours. tv platform. If you can’t get a diving licence for this state-protected wreck and charter a boat with the necessary equipment to dive to the wreck yourself, you can now comfortably take an informative underwater tour from home to the wreck of SM U 8, one of the first submarines of the Imperial Navy.

For the more than 100 years that the wreck has been lying on the seabed, it is surprisingly well preserved. Put into service in 1911, U 8 was one of the first truly combat-ready submarine type of the Imperial German Navy. It was not only the eighth boat put into service, but also the eighth boat lost in the First World War. It was, however, the first German submarine to be sunk into English coastal waters and is the only wreck of its type U 5 found to date, and it is also one of the very few wrecks of pre-war submarines. For this reason, Historic England, the national authority for the preservation of historical monuments in England, not only placed the wreck of SM U 8 under special protection, but also commissioned the English company MSDS Marine to create a virtual dive to make this interesting wreck accessible to a wider public.

Historic England´s offices in Holborn Bars, a historic large red terracotta Victorian building, Photo: MarkS, CC BY-SA 3.0

Historic England is a state agency that takes care of England’s historical environment. She advocates the protection of historical sites and wants to help people understand, appreciate and preserve them. For this purpose, Historic England offers not only to the owners of old houses various advisory services, but also offers educational opportunities for committed citizens. High-quality applied research to promote the protection and management of England’s historical environment is also carried out and funded. In 2016, the agency had a total of 953 employees and a budget of £103 million from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

MSDS Marine is a marine and coastal contractor specialising in the management, execution and support of archaeological projects. MSDS Marine has a wide range of experience and know-how in the industry, from project management of large-scale underwater excavations to compliance with archaeological permit requirements prior to major infrastructure projects. MSDS Marine provides geophysical and hydrographic services, including data collection, processing, visualisation and analysis, and is a fully insured diving company registered with the Health and Safety Executive, which offers a wide range of diving services with its highly experienced divers. It also offers a range of archaeological services, including ecological assessments, methodological statements, research work, articles, project designs and technical reports such as geophysical interpretation, importance assessment and management reports.

In her research for this project, the project manager of MSDS Marine, Sally Evans, then also contacted the German Submarine Museum and asked for various archive materials, such as photos, war diaries or maps, as well as an interview in English. This interview then evolved into various audio contributions, including one about the U-boat Archive itself as well as selected excerpts from the war diary, which could be produced by us and be delivered MSDS Marine ready-to-use .

MSDS produced the virtual dive in collaboration with ArtasMedia, which specializes in the creation and distribution of digital content on England’s historical heritage, and CyanSub, a progressive digital agency with its own proprietary content management system. The various evidence of U 8, such as archival materials, plans, photographs, war diaries, geophysical and hydrographic surveys as well as underwater photos and film material from the wreckage were blended together in order to convey the fascinating history of U 8 from its construction to its sinking and subsequent rediscovery and exploration in a vivid and scientifically sound manner.

To the virtual trail to SM U 8

The German U-boat Museum would like to thank Hendrik Herzog from Uetersen for taking over the role of commander Alfred Stoss during the recordings.