POSITION.... 53 05 725N 001 22 159E
TYPE... V CLASS DESTROYER
LAID DOWN... 17/1/1917
DIMENSIONS... LENGTH 95.1Mtrs BEAM 8.8Mtrs DRAUGHT 3Mtrs
BUILDER...J. SAMUAL WHITE, COWES, ISLE OF WHITE
PROPULSION...3 WHITE FORSTER TYPE WATER TUBE BOILERS, BROWN CURTIS STEAM TURBINES, X2 SHAFTS.
LOSS DATE... 15/03/1942
CAUSE OF LOSS....SUNK BY GERMAN E BOATS
WEAPONS AT TIME OF SINKING (According to Navy sec-3rd sector heritage).
4x4" MK V (CENTRE LINE) 120 ROUNDS PER GUN
1x12 PDR HA (HIGH ANGLE LONG RANGE GUN FOR ANTI AIRCRAFT FIRE ONLY)
2x2 PDR POM POM
2x LEWIS GUNS
2x DR (DOUBLE REVOLVING TORPEDO TUBE)
2 MK 1V TORPEDOES (SIDE SLUNG)
2x DEPTH CHARGE THROWERS, 1 RAIL, 33 MINES
HMS Vortigern, a V Class destroyer built in 1917 was employed as a short range escort during WW11. On the 15th of March 1942 whilst escorting a coastal convoy (FS749) along with HMS GUILLEMOT she was torpedoed by a German S boat. From her crew, 147 men lost there lives with only 14 surviving the attack, this being the heaviest loss of RN personnel in any one ship in defence of an east coast convoy.
All convoys held a prefix to there number, all dedicated convoy routes in-turn held the same prefix. FS in the case of FS 749 dictates the convoy set out from the Firth of Forth, its destination being the river Thames. The return, ie the river Thames to the Firth of Forth held the prefix of the letters (FN).
THE WRECK TODAY
Very broken in 20mtrs, widely dispersed with items of wreckage upto 400mtrs from the main site.
Due to the wrecks position it was seen to be a hazard to shipping. Despite the site being a war grave the Vortigern was dispersed with the use of explosives and wire swept to a clear depth of 19mtrs. The site is now protected under the protection of military remains act 1986. Diving on the site is permitted, however the removal of items and disturbance of the site is prohibited.
As with much research into a wrecks history, there are many contradictions to be found, the Vortigern being no exception. In October 1940 the Vortigern is stated as being refitted and converted for short range escort duties. At the time of the Vortigerns sinking she is stated by the Naval Historical Unit as being armed with x2 twin revolving torpedo banks. In 1986 there was a report from divers that they had located a triple revolving torpedo bank complete with torpedoes close to the site of the Vortigern.
Records show that in October through to November 1940 she was refitted, in-turn her tripple torpedo banks were removed. In the half yearly Naval report for 1940 she is shown as still retaining her triple banks, however in October 1941, the half yearly report shows her as only being armed with double torpedo banks, this therefore giving support to the claims that she was reffited as layed out by the Naval Historical unit. The question is, if what the divers have found is a triple torpedo bank, have the Naval records got it wrong, did she ever receive a refit, or was her refit incomplete??