Photos: 95-Year-Old Ammunition Pulled From Sea

October 17, 2010

Earlier today [Oct 17] a group of visitors pulled a chest from the ocean, which after a delayed time that saw the Police Bomb Squad clear the area, was determined to be ammunition from a ship that wrecked off Bermuda in 1915.

The guests had flown into Bermuda to celebrate a wedding, with the majority coming in from New York and staying at the Coral Beach Club. The finders [pictured below] were Walker Brock, John Macaskill, Brendan Johnston, Andrew Gooss, Thatcher Martin, Will Rabbe and Chris Sturgess. The group informed us that one of them was already well known around the hotel prior to the chest discovery, due to a drunken incident which resulted in him being found in the morning fast asleep on the hotel grass.

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Yesterday they spotted the box lying in the ocean floor; approximately 11 feet deep and 50-100 feet from shore. Upon discussion they decided to attempt to pull it up, and waited till high tide today to make the job easier.

A number of them combined starting at approximately 11am today, and with the use of a volleyball net they managed to drag the box off the sand and place it on a boogey board. They said the board was somewhat sinking under the weight, but they managed to safely get the box ashore. The entire procedure took around an hour, resulting in the box coming ashore at around 12pm today.

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The group was rather thrilled to have found it, never imagining that their Bermuda vacation would result in them pulling ashore an old cliche – ‘sunken treasure’. Bernews arrived on the scene shortly after, and came across everyone attempting to decipher exactly what the box was.

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After much discussion of what this box could possibly be, the group then began the rather back-breaking task of carrying the box off the beach to their room. This was no small feat as the box was estimated to weigh in excess of 100lbs, however Coral Beach’s manager quickly sprung to action and provided a golf cart for the second part of the journey.

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Upon sending a quick camera-phone photo to our writer Larry Burchall, who has a military background, he said he was sure it was ammunition, hence a call was made to the Bermuda Police, who arrived and promptly confirmed it was ammunition and cleared everyone from the hotel room as a safety precaution.

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After a time lapse, the Bermuda Police Explosives Ordnance Disposal arrived, and examined it, declaring the contents were safe.

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Dr Phillipe Rouja [pictured below on the right], Bermuda’s Custodian of Historical Shipwrecks, examined it, and instantly declared that it was from the Pollockshields shipwreck, which he said was located approximately 1,000 metres from where the box was found today. Dr Rouja commented that the box that held the eight artillery shells was in remarkably good condition. Dr Rouja said the box was probably so well preserved as it was under layers of sand, rather than in the open ocean. The EOD team described it as artillery ammunition for a four-inch gun.

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In the early stages of World War One, the Royal Navy had captured a German freighter, renamed her the “Pollokshields” and then used the ship for transporting ammunition. In 1915, while carrying about 350 tons of ammunition and over 30 passengers, the “Pollockshields” ran up on the reefs just off what is now Coral Beach Club. Ever since then, bits and pieces from that wreck have continued to surface. The experts said that Hurricane Igor probably lent a hand in uncovering this latest find. The chest was taken away to the Maritime Museum so it can preserved.

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Articles that link to this one:

  1. Historical Bermuda Photos of Pollockshields Boat Wreck | Bernews.com | October 18, 2010
  1. Ellen says:

    Cool!!

  2. Orion says:

    Great coverage of a great breaking story! Like something out of one of Peter Benchley’s thrillers set in Bermuda. Livened up my Sunday afternoon … Congratulations!

  3. V says:

    Thanks to Hurricane Igor, another piece of history has been uncovered!

  4. Weldon says:

    Very cool!!

  5. Cooper S says:

    GO MRS MEYER!!!!!!!! :D

  6. Mai says:

    These guest to Bermuda will go down in Bermuda’s history books! Let’s keep their names!

  7. Arthur Raynor - Atlanta says:

    “Hmm..let’s open the box guys! Hey it looks like some sort of giant bullet shells. Great! Let’s take it to our hotel room where it can EXPLODE in safety” “Right and even better, let’s get the Coral Beach hotel manager to supply a golf cart to carry it for us”

  8. We were advised not to dive this wreak because of explosive on board

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