Friday, 6 September 2019

The HMS Sussex

The HMS Sussex was an 80-gun ship of the English Royal Navy, lost in a severe storm on 1 March 1694 off Gibraltar. The flagship of Admiral Sir Francis Wheler was built in 1693 and sailed from Portsmouth on December 27, escorting a fleet of 48 warships and 166 merchant ships.
Suspected to be on board were 10 tons of gold coins due to the Duke of Savoy, an ally of Britain.
A violent storm hit the flotilla near the Strait of Gibraltar and on the morning of March 1, 1694 the HMS Sussex sank, joining 12 other ships of the fleet. Only two survived of the 500 crew on board. Wheler's body was found on the eastern shore of the rock of Gibraltar two days later 'much mangled'.

There were 1,200 casualties in what remains one of the worst disasters of the Royal Navy.
Historical records suggest that a shipment of gold equal to a million pounds sterling was destined for Savoy, aboard HMS Sussex. Evidence suggests that the payment went down with the ship.

Between 1998 and 2001, Odyssey Marine Exploration searched for the HMS Sussex and announced that it had located the shipwreck at a depth of 800 metres.

Due to various conflicted interests Odyessey has "postponed further work on the project to allow diplomatic issues to be resolved."