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Need Help! Can you identify this shipwreck relic?

Article about: Hello! I am a brand new member of this forum, and am fascinated by both the relics that have been discovered, and the knowledge of the members. Hopefully, someone can help me identify a reli

  1. #1

    Default Need Help! Can you identify this shipwreck relic?

    Hello!
    I am a brand new member of this forum, and am fascinated by both the relics that have been discovered, and the knowledge of the members. Hopefully, someone can help me identify a relic that I recovered from the wreck of the St. Cathan, and let me know if it is hazardous.
    HMS St. Cathan (FY 234) was an ASW trawler that sank off the coast of South Carolina on April 11, 1942 after colliding with the Dutch freighter Hebe. Both ships sank in a matter of minutes, and now rest about ˝ mile apart at a depth of 110 ft. All of the Hebe’s crew were rescued, but thirty of St. Cathan’s crew of thirty-nine were lost. Both wrecks are popular scuba dive sites.
    I recovered this object about 10 years ago. When I first pulled it out of the sand by the brass handle, I thought it was a lantern of some type. Someone on the dive boat told me it was a depth charge detonator, but gave no details as to how it worked or what it contained. Just to be safe, I’ve been keeping it in the shed out back, and have made no attempt to clean it. As the pictures show, the object is cylindrical, and appears to be made entirely of brass, except for the ˝” thick rubber gasket at the top. The cylinder is about 6” long, and 3 ˝” in diameter. The brass “handle” is connected to the top portion of the cylinder, and swings freely. Below the gasket, the cylinder is sealed, and judging from the weight, is packed solid with something. There is a center rod running through the center that appears to be threaded. The bottom has a shallow hole in the center. There are no markings anywhere on the object. What is it, and is it capable of exploding?
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture DSCN3150.jpg   DSCN3151.jpg  

    DSCN3152.jpg  

  2. #2

    Default Re: Need Help! Can you identify this shipwreck relic?

    Hi Singlebill,

    I believe what you have there is a 'Booster Extender' for a Mk 6 depth charge, and as such should be handled with great care as it once contained 3lbs of TNT.

    This may still be volatile i guess as the booster has not been used. This can be known because a (handle?) is in place where the detonating pistol should be fitted.

    With the best will in the world old pal, i'd take it back out to sea and dump it in a deep part!!

    Be careful mate.

    Regards, Ned.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  3. #3
    ?

    Default Re: Need Help! Can you identify this shipwreck relic?

    Wow , good spotting ned !!

    cheers Al

  4. #4

    Default Re: Need Help! Can you identify this shipwreck relic?

    Quote by big ned View Post
    Hi Singlebill,

    With the best will in the world old pal, i'd take it back out to sea and dump it in a deep part!!

    Be careful mate.

    Regards, Ned.

    I would not even try to move it, i would call a bombsquad if i where you. 3lbs of TNT going off and your house is history....

  5. #5

    Default Re: Need Help! Can you identify this shipwreck relic?

    Ive never seen one but if it is ned says it is ,i agree that you should contact the police explain to them your concerns..taking it out and dumping it could potentially cause future problems for someone else

  6. #6

    Default Re: Need Help! Can you identify this shipwreck relic?

    a friend of mine ,diving enthusiast,very profesionnal ,have lost 2 fingers while trying to separe the very,very little piece at the head of a 75mm war head,found on the hms Berkeley,sunk august the 19th 1942 close to Dieppe.
    He was alone at home when it arrived.I let you imagine his panic,especially when he had to call emergency services,because his home was absolutely FULL of shells,cartridges,relics,guns etc.most active.He managed to explain that his chainsaw had troubles and had an autostart injuring him....And it worked!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Need Help! Can you identify this shipwreck relic?

    the best bet is to take it back to the beach, then get the police because if they get the bombsquad they'll more than likely blow it up in your back garden because they arent too keen on transporting such items because they like to be too careful even when items can be safely transported. I'm just saying this because one of my friends discovered that the Mills Bomb he bought in Belgium was actually still live when he got home, the guys from bomb disposal were going to blow it up in his garden, but one of their senior officers turned up and took it to the local camp where it was safely disposed of.
    Thanks and be careful

    Danny

  8. #8

    Default Re: Need Help! Can you identify this shipwreck relic?

    Hi Guys,

    Just found this diagram of a Mk6 Depth Charge. You can clearly see the part in the centre is what Singlebill has in his shed. It's actually the booster, not, as i incorrectly stated yesterday, the booster extender.(it's been a long time!) It actually contains 3.52lbs of TNT. As such it does not dissolve in water, but is considered a fairly safe to handle explosive as it can be heated and poured into munitions.

    However, i don't know if it can degrade and then become volatile, so after sixty years underwater, i would err on the side of caution.

    I hope to hear how the problem is resolved.

    Regards, Ned.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture CHAPTER-14-FIGURE-14B4-PAGE-331.jpg  
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Need Help! Can you identify this shipwreck relic?

    Its a good thing we have you here ned I hope Singlebill reads these posts before he does anything with it
    Thanks

    Danny

  10. #10

    Default Re: Need Help! Can you identify this shipwreck relic?

    Quote by GasMasksUK View Post
    Its a good thing we have you here ned I hope Singlebill reads these posts before he does anything with it
    Thanks

    Danny
    It certainly is Danny !

    Good spot Ned. You certainly know your 'strange objects shown out of context but full of explosives'

    Steve T

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