Lost German torpedo ship discovered in Devon cave

Archive photo of the lost German torpedo ship
Explorer Darren Murray Darren was magnet fishing around known wrecks, HMS Savage and HMS Venerable when he discovered this shipwreck. Credit: Devon Live/BPM Media

The unchartered wreck of a German torpedo ship has been discovered wedged deep in a sea cave in Torbay.

Explorer Darren Murray was searching two other known wrecks when he discovered the remains of the lost long T189. The ship sank in the storm off Roundham Head, Paington in December 1920 - never been seen again until now.

Darren is delighted with his find in caves known as Savage Hole which is only accessible from the sea beneath the cliffs.

"I have an official salvage claim to the vessel as I found it and logged its position. Previously unknown for more than 100 years," he said.

"Under maritime law, the German government has one year to reclaim the lost ship but with the added complications of it being war booty and already captured by the British... this will not happen, it's mine."

  • Watch the footage of the T189 German torpedo destroyer shipwreck

His footage shows large parts of the bow section deep in the sea cave: "It's my first official shipwreck discovery... the exact location was uncharted until now. This hasn't been seen for over 100 years as it sank in 1920."

The German torpedo destroyer survived World War One and was under tow by the British together with the S-24, another German destroyer. A strong wind from the east turned into a gale and at 11pm, the tow line snapped.

The three-man running crew aboard were saved by Paignton Life Saving Association.

The Western Morning News said at the time: "It was reported in our late edition yesterday that an ex-German destroyer had gone ashore at Roundham Head in Torbay on Sunday night.

"A fierce storm raged in the bay during the night. The vessels were two surrendered German destroyers which were being towed from Cherbourg to Teignmouth by the London tug WARRIOR.

"She has a broken back and lies on a rocky bottom. If the present weather continues, she will be a total wreck."