Shallow Wrecks (0 - 25 metres)
SS Soudan 18m
The SS Soudan was an 844 ton French Steamer carrying a cargo of peanuts, hides and oil. On the 27th June, 1887, whilst en route between Senegal and Dunkirk she ran aground on the Hamstone in thick fog. After the fog lifted two tugs took her in tow towards Salcombe Harbour, but unfortunately she was taking on too much water and sank just outside the harbour entrance.
Today she sits in 18m of water and parts of her rise 3-4m from the sea bed. Divers need to be aware of the heavy boat traffic coming in and out of Salcombe when diving this wreck.
The Bretagne 30m
Owned by the Shipping Controller (Capper, Alexander & Co) and built in 1903 by Nylands Vaerksted the Bretagne was sailing under the British flag in the closing weeks of the war, on route from Barry to Rouen with a cargo of coal. On the 10th August 1918 she collided with the French steamer Renee Marthe in thick fog. Bretagne was struck on the port side and as the ships parted, she began to sink. First officer Henri Watterson returned to the ship to recover some valuables and documents as a wave made a door slam, trapping him and taking him down with her.
Today she lies on an even keel in 30m of water with the deck at 23m. The wreck is quite intact but the deck has been wire swept at some point. Suitable for Sports Divers and with lots of access points to have a rummage inside it will keep the more experienced diver interested.
SS Perone 33m
British cable layer, 3342 tons built in 1882; 98 x 14m. She was torpedoed and sunk on the 1 September 1917 5nm SE of Berry Head by German submarine UC-65. The Westmeath, as she was previously known, was built under yard No 115 as a cargo and passenger vessel by Sunderland Shipbuilding Co., Sunderland for R.M. Hudson at Sunderland. The Westmeath was launched on 11 November 1882, powered by a compound steam engine, 316nhp with a tonnage of 3,191 grt, 2,095 net,dim. 320 x 42.4 x 28ft.
On the 31 August 1917 she saild from Le Havre under the command of Captain E. Cazeils, with 31 crew and 4 gunners (at that time she was armed) in convoy bound for Barry Roads, UK. On 1 September 1917, at 10:45 am the first officer on watch sighted the wake of a torpedo and the ship was hit in the stern which completely destroyed her, and she sank within 10 minutes settling in a position around 5 miles SE of Berry Head. All crew on board abandoned ship and were picked up by the British steamer Landport from Liverpool, and were dropped off at Brixham. The Perrone was torpedoed by the German U-Boat UC-65 under command of Max Viebeg.
Today she lies in 33m of water but the decks can be reached at around 28m. She is broken in midships and lies doglegged on the sea bed. Intact portholes still exist - apparently.
The Dudley Road 35m
The Dudley Rose, built in 1929 by D & W Henderson & Co, Glasgow, was a 1600 ton admiralty collier. On 9th April, 1941, whilst en route from Plymouth to Portsmouth via Dartmouth, she was hit by a stick of bombs from a single Heinkel 111k. All 16 crew survived.
Today, the Dudley Rose sits on an even keel in 35m of water and rises 6m from the sea bed.
This is a picture of the Jellicoe Rose, a sister ship of the same design and dimensions.
HMT Benton Castle 35m
The British Navy trawler HMT Benton Castle was built in 1914 by Smiths Dock Co. Ltd of Middlesbrough for the Castle Steam Trawlers Co. Ltd Swansea. The Benton Castle was requisitioned by the admiralty in 1915 fitted with a 6 pounder and used as a minesweeper near the mouth of the River Dart. She was sunk on 10 November 1916 by a mine from UC-17 (Ralph Wenninger) off Dartmouth. with the loss of 10 crew.
The Benton Castle today sits on her port side in 38m on a silty sea bed. The minimum depth to the wreck is 33m. The whole wreck is covered with plumose anemones and teaming with life.