War Grave question

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.
Xrayist
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War Grave question

Postby Xrayist » Sat Mar 03, 2007 7:56 am

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for creating this forum. I am proud to be a new member.
I don't know it this question is posted in the right discussion area, but this seemed to be the most logical. I apologize if it is not the correct one.
I know that the Bismarck is considered a war grave as are many other military ship and plane wrecks, along with some civilian ones.
My question has to do with the Tirpitz. In a book I just finished it stated that there were approx. 1000 men trapped/killed when the Tirpitz capsized. This book also stated that the Norwegians cut the ship up for scrap on the spot, finishing the work sometime around 1957. So the question is, did Norway not agree to preserving war graves, or were all the bodies removed either before or during the scrapping? Thanks in advance for all the answers I may get. One last question, are there any pieces of the Tirpitz still to be found along the shore where it was scrapped, or is there anything to see if I happen to get there? Thanks again.

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Gary
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Postby Gary » Sat Mar 03, 2007 2:02 pm

Hi Xrayist.

Welcome to the forum.

The wrecks of Hood and Bismarck etc have only been made "protected places" (war graves) in recent years.
Back in 1957 I dont think Tirpitz would be so recognised especially by Norwegians.
The main reason for scrapping the Tirpitz wreck I believe was because of the enviromental damage it was doing to the Fjord.
God created the world in 6 days.........and on the 7th day he built the Scharnhorst

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marcelo_malara
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Postby marcelo_malara » Sat Mar 03, 2007 2:48 pm

Most of the so called war graves are located in waters so deep as to deem salvage impossible. I believe that there are very few ships sunk in shallow waters, I remember just Royal Oak and Arizona. In the case of Tirpitz, I think that Norway would not have respected the ship of a recently occupying power.

Xrayist
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Postby Xrayist » Sat Mar 03, 2007 4:58 pm

Thank you both for the quick replies. And I thank the rest of you who took time to read my question. Now, I just have to set aside some time to read all the past posts on this forum to see what I can learn!

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Gary
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Postby Gary » Sat Mar 03, 2007 7:53 pm

Hi Xrayist and Marcelo.

On the subject of Royal Oak, she leaked oil for many many years and only very recently (2001 I think) did the Royal navy do something to the wreck to stop it.
Residents of Scapa flow had long since requested that the oil leak be stopped as it was harming the enviroment.

Arizona had the same problem I believe - wether or not the USN did something about it though I dont know
God created the world in 6 days.........and on the 7th day he built the Scharnhorst

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marcelo_malara
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Postby marcelo_malara » Sat Mar 03, 2007 10:47 pm

Hi Gary:

Those ships were sunk in home waters. I think that not England nor the US would allow a foreign power wreck spoil their environment, be it a war grave or not.

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Terje Langoy
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Postby Terje Langoy » Sun Mar 04, 2007 4:24 pm

Welcome to the forum, Xrayist

Regarding the Tirpitz, I don't think that her scrapping was executed just because Germany was an occupying power or because Norway didn't respect a war grave. There's war graves all along our coast line. The major point to consider is where she was sunk and her appearance after that. I'm convinced that no power, occupied or not, would have a giant battleship of over 50 000 tons flip-turtled halfway up on their beaches. You simply can't have a ship lying around like that. I'm pretty convinced that all the sailors of the ship was taken out of the hull and given a proper burial. Otherwise, I'll have to point out that German ship wrecks are an increasing cause of controversy here in Norway. The German uboat, U-864, (torpedoed and sunk by the British submarine Venturer, 9th February 1945) lies sunk at some 150 meters, a couple of miles north of Bergen. The uboat was heading for Penang, Malaysia and was loaded with approximately 65 tons of mercury when it was sunk. This is today a wargrave but also a hazard to the enviroment of the area. So forth, you got yourself a choice to make. (For the record, U-864 was supposedly the first submerged uboat to be sunk by another submerged uboat) Another enviromental threat is the destroyers of the Narvik battle, 10th April, 1940. The sunken destroyers are in the process of breaking apart and the risk of major leaks are so forth increasing. Yet another example is the Blücher in Oslofjorden, which is also in the process of breaking apart. An operation was executed in 1994, in order to pump out the oil from the wreck but as you can imagine, this is not the easiest thing to do. The wrecks are also a hazard to the fishermen which might get their equippment tangled into parts of the wreck. All that being said, I sincerely believe that Tirpitz was scrapped due to enviromental and safety considerations.

Very best regards
“Gneisenau has given way, and we are to march at once to your chief.”

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Antonio Bonomi
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War graves

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:16 am

Ciao all,

I think I have visisted almost all the Norwegian wreck sites during my dedicated Norwegian trip on 2004.

Terje is right, they are going soon to be an environmental problem since many are in close waters and still with fuel inside and are polluting the environment already, but they can do more damages soon, especially Blucher in Oslo Fjord I suppose, .. not to talk about that U-Boot in Bergen.

Same problems are coming out also from recently sunken ships and wrecks, especially is loaded with nuclear weapons, like the Russian submarines,..this is going to be soon a very crucial problem for our living environment,..on top of the very many others we already have... :think:

Our old wrecks at least did not have the nuclear problem as they were just steel and cooper, engines and so on, ... but mainly good quality steel.

That is why werever possible they scrapped the sunken ships, for economic reasons, that was the main reason they scrapped the Tirpitz, somebody made a real '' bargain '' of her.

But Tirpitz was not totally submerged, half of her hull was out of the water and there were more than 900 dead German young sailors on her, buried into the steel of their own ship.

When I was in front of her sinking place I was invited to take a swim on her wreck as a scuba diver, I decided NOT to do it, because I was feeling I had to respect that place, like a cemetery, as it really is.
So despite I am a good swimmer and that been an easy task been the water very low, I did not do it.

The destiny of the bodies buried in there is still a very sensitive argument, .. I preffer not to go into the details of it, .... nobody will judge anybody about it on this world, ... GOD will do it one day.

.. it is NOT a matter on nationality, .... it is a matter of been an human been, ... despite the religion, ... the country, ... the flags, ... and in fact Terje is thinking exactly like everybody will do logically :clap: :clap: .

.. lucky me I had the opportunity to listen personally to the words of Harry Pettersen ( Norway undergroud agent, .. now dead ) ... of some Tirpitz survivors on 2005 still alive, ... of John Lorimer ( X-6 crew member ) ... at the Tirpitz Museum opening,... in KaaFjord.... on 2005.

Their words were really inspiring for every young man listening, .. very wise, .. as war is bad and we must learn from previous mistakes not to do it anymore, .. never again.

Ciao Antonio :D

Drahnreb

Re: War Grave question

Postby Drahnreb » Tue Nov 11, 2014 11:35 pm

Hello,

As far as I know, the bodies of the sailors that were recovered during the scrapping of the Tipitz were buried at a war cemetary in Narvik. However there are still some bodies on the site of the wreck, but only a small percentage of those that died there.

Best regards from Tromsø,
Drahnreb

strider190

Re: War Grave question

Postby strider190 » Thu Oct 06, 2016 5:23 pm

I don't buy the enviromental bit. Yes she was likely to leak fuel oil like any other wreck... but did the Norwegins send the salvaged steel to Germany? Or offer Germany some of the.... proceeds.... from selling the metal?

There are other ways to contain leaks from wrecks a lot less expensive that trearing them apart. (Coferdams, for example or pumping out her bunkers). Unless of course you want to profit from sellng the scrap.

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Re: War Grave question

Postby Cag » Thu Nov 03, 2016 11:55 am

Hi All

Sorry to come in so late with this, I do believe there are a quite a few environmental issues for Norway as regards 'heavy water' as a large amount was sunk on a train/vehicle transporting ferry in one of the fjords adding to that lost in U boats?

This, if the bodies of those lost were very respectfully treated and repatriated and the pollution hazards contained (Which I'm sure is the aim of any Norwegian attempt if the facilities to do so actually exist), seems the only time that such disturbances should be considered.

As for war graves it is something that seems to be becoming less important as the ransacking of the Prince of Wales and Repulse has proven. Both ships have lost propellers hull items and personal items have been seized when advertised on certain Internet auction sites.

There are regular sightseeing and diving trips which on the whole are just that, as both wrecks are accessible and I'm sure other such sites are also well visited. Even Titanic and Bismarck have, although expensive, possibilities for sightseeing I believe.

I'm not sure of the reasons for this, maybe the diving element and access to a lost ship, but for me I'd rather try visit the few remaining large warships/Liners without the need for breathing equipment!

Best wishes
Cag.

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Re: War Grave question

Postby Cag » Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:15 pm

Hi All

Have just seen an article on another forum that is relevant to this discussion.

The Dutch ships lost in the Java Sea have all but disappeared due to illegal salvage and the Australian cruiser Perth has had similar treatment.

It seems very sad that for a minority in all countries the idea of a war grave apparently means nothing.

Best wishes
Cag.

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RF
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Re: War Grave question

Postby RF » Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:17 am

Unfortunately that is how it is. There is no effective international law or policing/prosecution on this.

The only defence is for the wrecks to be very far down so that water pressure and inaccessibility makes looting extremely difficult.

The hilfskreuzer Michel is probably the most secure from pilferage as it is at the bottom of the Mariana Trench off Japan. Unfortunately some other wrecks are in shallow water.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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paulcadogan
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Re: War Grave question

Postby paulcadogan » Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:00 pm

And the Exeter is gone as well....

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/bri ... ailsignout

As RF said, their only shield is depth...
Qui invidet minor est - He who envies is the lesser man

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RF
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Re: War Grave question

Postby RF » Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:47 pm

Theft on this scale - effectively a fleet of warships up to cruiser size - can hardly go unnoticed. Logistically a substantial salvage force would be required and these are not remote waters but close to land.

The area is in the jurisdiction of the Indonesian Navy - do they not police their own waters? Or are authorities conniving in the theft?

I would have thought that the theft operation would be sufficiently large for it to be detectable by US spy satellites in geo-stationery orbit around the Earth. I would be interested in what the CIA say about this....
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.


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