Amazing aerial shots show scale of shipwreck

The wreck of the Commodore

The wreck of the Commodore, a ship that ran aground off Sheringham in 1896, seen from above. - Credit: christaylorphoto.co.uk

Photos taken from a drone show the full scale of a 125-year-old shipwreck found off the north Norfolk coast.

The remains of the Commodore, a coal-bearing vessel that ran aground off Sheringham in 1896, were found last week by local photographer Chris Taylor who was snorkelling offshore.

He said: "While I was swimming I was trying to work out the scale of the boat and I thought I need to see what this looks like from above."

The wreck of the Commodore

The Commodore, a ship-bearing vessel, ran aground on rocks off Sheringham's coast in November, 1896. - Credit: christaylorphoto.co.uk

The next day, rough seas had stirred up the sand again, obscuring visibility. Mr Taylor had to wait until Tuesday (September 21) for the calm and shallow waters of a spring tide before sending up his drone and camera.

The resulting pictures show the sunken remains of the ship's hull, just under 200 metres long.

The filmmaker, who also volunteers as helmsman with Sheringham lifeboat, has been surprised by the reaction to his discovery.


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"It's been great. I wasn't sure if I was overreacting initially," he said.

"I was surprised by the interest, locally and nationally. It's been really interesting to see how people have been engaging with it."

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For years the wreck had been buried under sand in the shallow water just west of Sheringham's lifeboat station, where parts of the boat would occasionally poke out of the seabed. Its full length was revealed only after recent weather had scoured the sediment away.

Wreck of the Commodore

The rusting hull of the Commodore emerges from its sandy tomb off the north Norfolk coast. - Credit: christaylorphoto.co.uk

Mr Taylor took aerial shots of the same area of shoreline last year but there was no sign of the wreck.

The vessel ran aground on a rainy night in November, 1896. Local fishermen rowed out to help but a gale blew up and the small boats returned to shore, leaving three fishermen onboard, before the lifeboat the 'Henry Ramey Upcher' was launched, rescuing 14 crew members, as well as the fishermen.

Wreck of the Commodore

The wreck of the Commodore, which ran aground off Sheringham in 1896, had remained buried under sand for years. - Credit: christaylorphoto.co.uk

The vessel had come from West Hartlepool and was carrying 1,250 tonnes of coal.

That cargo might not have made it to its destination but lumps of coal still sometimes wash up on the beach at Sheringham.

Mr Taylor said: "After a good winter northerly storm, if you're going for a walk along the beach, you do find lumps of coal washed up. I usually pick it up and take it home and burn it in the fire." 

The wreck of the Commodore

The wreck of the Commodore, a ship that ran aground off Sheringham in 1896, seen from above. - Credit: christaylorphoto.co.uk

Wreck of the Commodore

The shallow and calm waters of a spring tide reveal the rusting remains of the Commodore which ran aground off Sheringham in 1896. - Credit: christaylorphoto.co.uk

Wreck of the Commodore

Chris Taylor, a Sheringham photographer, used a drone to take aerial pictures of the wreck of the Commodore. - Credit: christaylorphoto.co.uk

  

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