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Innes McCartney

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Nationality  British
Website page
Name  Innes McCartney

Innes McCartney httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumb0
Occupation  Nautical archaeologist, explorer, historian, author
Known for  Discovery of historic shipwrecks, archaeology of modern shipwrecks
Education  Bournemouth University, Keele University, University of Exeter
Books  The Maritime Archaeol, British Submarines of World, Lost Patrols: Submarin, British Submarines 1939‑45

Plymouth at war innes mccartney talks jutland shipwreck archaelogy and ww2 submarines

Dr. Innes J. McCartney (born 1964) is a British nautical archaeologist, and historian. He is currently a Leverhulme Research Fellow at Bournemouth University.



McCartney is a nautical archaeologist who specialises in the discovery of and investigation into twentieth century shipwrecks including the wrecks of the Battle of Jutland and the U-boat wars. He can be seen on documentaries such as Time Team Special and is a regular speaker at conferences. He specialises in examining how understandings of the past are revised by the interaction of shipwreck archaeology with the historical record.

In 1989 he became involved in shipwreck archaeology when he learned to dive. By 1994 he was one of Britain's first Trimix-certified scuba divers and in 1998 became the first person to have dived on the three great liner wrecks, SS Andrea Doria, RMS Lusitania and HMHS Britannic.

In 1999 he discovered the 12-inch-gunned submarine HMS M1 off Start Point in the English Channel.

In 2001 he discovered the wreck of HMS Indefatigable sunk at the Battle of Jutland and in 2003 co-produced the Channel 4 documentary "Clash of the Dreadnoughts" which examined all of the larger wrecks, including detailed surveys of HMS Defence and HMS Invincible

In 2001-2 McCartney led two expeditions to locate and identify some of the U-boats sunk during Operation Deadlight. Fourteen U-boats were surveyed and several new sites were discovered including the rare Type XXI U-boat, U2506, once under the command of Horst von Schroeter and the successful Type IXC U-boat, U155 commanded by Adolf Piening.

In 2003, McCartney was featured in the Channel 4 series Wreck Detectives. In the film he identified the mystery World War I U-boat off Trevose Head, Cornwall as UB-65 by scraping the propellers to reveal the shipyard stamp. This proved that even at 60 metres depth, war graves of this type can be identified by divers without the need scavenge parts from them.

In 2006 McCartney featured in the award-winning Deep Wreck Mysteries episode, "U-boat Death-Trap" which depicted the search by McCartney for the identity of three mystery U-boats of the north coast of Cornwall. In the same year he discovered the German auxiliary raider HSK Komet in the English Channel after a long search and returned the following year to survey both halves of the wreck. At the time, it was the only known example of this type of warship anywhere in the world.

In 2008 he found the White Star Line transport SS Armenian off the Scilly Isles as part of the Deep Wreck Mysteries television series. He also featured in the episodes "Death of a Battleship" which investigated the loss of HMS Audacious in 1914 and in "Stealth Sub" which investigated the loss of U480, a sub he had previously identified in 1998.

In 2011 he identified the very early U-boat, UA off Folkestone. German built in 1912 and destined for the Norwegian navy, it was taken over by the Imperial German Navy in 1914. It was long thought to have been scrapped in France after 1918.

In 2012 McCartney worked alongside wreck hunter David Mearns on an archaeological investigation of the wreck of HMS Hood, sunk in 1941. This project was supported by philanthropist Paul Allen aboard his yacht Octopus. The expedition findings are the subject of the Channel Four documentary "How the Bismark sank HMS Hood".

In 2013 McCartney featured as the lead contributor on a Time Team Special entitled "The Lost Submarine of WW1". This film examines the pioneering submarines of the First World War. He also positively identified the remains of the World War I U-boat wrecks SM UC-72 and SM UB-114 in the waters of the English Channel.

In 2014 McCartney completed his PhD at Bournemouth University entitled "The Maritime Archaeology of a Modern Conflict: Comparing the archaeology of German submarine wrecks to the historical text". It was published by Routledge in December of the same year. It shows the extent to which historical sources relating U-boat losses in UK waters in both world wars differ from the actual distribution of the known and identified wrecks. Over 40% of those investigated had no historical precedent. The accuracy of the historic text fell as low as 36% during 1945.

In November 2014 research into Admiralty diving on sunken U-boats in 1918 won McCartney the Reg Vallintine Achievement Award for Historical Diving.

In 2015 and 2016 McCartney worked as archaeological advisor to JD-Contractor (Denmark's leading underwater contractor) and the Sea War Museum Jutland on detailed archaeological shipwreck surveys utilising swath bathymetry (multibeam) off the west coast of Denmark which have so far located over 200 shipwrecks, including all of the heretofore undiscovered wrecks of the Battle of Jutland. The surveys, alongside his earlier explorations at the Jutland battlefield is the focus of his latest book "Jutland 1916: The Archaeology of a Naval Battlefield" and the Channel 4 documentary "Jutland: WWI's Greatest Sea Battle", both released in May 2016.Among other newly discovered sites was the wreck of the British submarine HMS Tarpon (N17). The wreck was the subject of a live broadcast by Denmark's public television channel DR3 on 28 August 2016 in which McCartney contributed.

2016 also saw McCartney assist Scottish Power in identifying a World War I era UB-III Class U-boat off the Wigtownshire coast which was found during the seabed survey for an undersea power cable between England and Scotland. McCartney has suggested the wreck is UB-82 or possibly UB-85 which were both sunk after attacks by British patrol boats in April 1918.

In January 2017 McCartney partook in the most comprehensive survey to date of the seabed of the Scapa Flow naval anchorages. Aboard JD-Contractor's survey ship Vina, the multibeam survey covered 40 square kilometres of seabed.


  • Mountbatten Maritime Award for Best Literary Contribution - Nominated (UK, 2016)
  • D.K. Brown Memorial Lecture (UK, 2016)
  • Keith Muckelroy Memorial Award 2015 - Runner Up (UK, 2015)
  • Reg Vallintine Achievement Award for Historical Diving (UK, 2014)
  • References

    Innes McCartney Wikipedia