First World War: Merchant Shipping Wrecks
Historic England is identifying wrecks of First World War merchant vessels lost in the North Sea.
Vital coastal shipping routes, especially for coal, were subject to constant German attack by mines, U-boats, and surface raiders. In an attempt to reduce losses, protected shipping channels, known as ‘War Channels’, were created through the defensive minefields, reinforced with patrols by the Royal Navy, airships and aircraft in concert with coastal batteries.
Despite these measures many merchant vessels were lost, along with many others involved in protecting and maintaining the War Channels.
These wrecks, often concentrated along or close to these War Channels, are the subject of a Historic England investigation to identify their location and condition, and to tell their stories and those of their links with the shore defences and other buildings.