Fertile Normandy is a land of fields, fishing villages, and cathedrals. Vikings seized the region in the 9th century, and invasions have twice secured Normandy’s place in military history: in 1066, William of Normandy conquered England; on D-Day, June 6,1944, Allied armies began the liberation of France on Normandy’s beaches.


The master, Captain Errett, highly commended Mr Speed and on 16 April 1945 he was presented with the Lloyd’s War Medal for Bravery at Sea. The wreck is orientated in a NW to SE direction and lies on a seabed of firm sand and stone in a general depth of 55 m (LAT). The wreck is in two huge sections, one 19 m high and the other 11 m high, with about 200 metres between them, and is now showing signs of collapsing in on itself. As would be expected of a tanker of such big proportions, the bulk of the wreck consists mainly of two huge steel plate hulks with the decks covered in dozens of metres oflarge steel pipes and tubes running the length of it. There are two bridge-type sections, one at the stern end and another about one quarter of the way forward from the stern, where the bridge/wheelhouse are located. The two sections of the wreck are absolutely enormous and would take literally dozens of dives to inspect properly. The giant 6 m bronze screws, weighing many tons, are still attached to the wreck, next to a massive rudder and surrounded by the overhanging steel structure of the ship’s stern end, which is an awesome and eerie sight. Trawl nets draped over some of the huge superstructure hang like giant cobwebs. The wrecks will make excellent boat-angling venues too, thanks to an abundance of large fish, especially cod, ling, pollack and conger, sheltering in and around the remains. The Ascot was a steel-hulled 810-ton Racecourse Class paddle steamer, designed and developed as a purpose-built minesweeper.

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