Locations/North Carolina

They Didn't Know What Hit Them!

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Her Majesties Ship Bedfordshire joined the U.S. antisubmarine campaign against the Germans in April 1942. She was a converted fishing trawler poorly armed with British .303 machine guns, a four-inch quick-fire deck gun and depth charges. The trawler patrolled the area from Norfolk, VA, to Morehead City, NC. Morehead City was used as a "home base" for maintenance repairs and port calls.

Moral was high from the sinking of the German U-boat U-352 just two days earlier by the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Icarus. On May 11, the converted fishing vessel left Morehead City for the last time.

At the time the Bedfordshire left port, Captain Gunther Kretch, captain of the German U-boat U-558 was cruising twenty-seven miles southeast of Beaufort inlet. The U-boat had barley escaped from two patrol boats earlier that day. Captain Kretch now spotted the H.M.S. Bedfordshire and was hungry for a kill. Two torpedo’s were fired, but missed miserably. The third torpedo hit its mark at 11:40 PM and the crew had no idea what hit them. The torpedo was a perfect shot that blew the little 170’ patrol boat to pieces, sinking her immediately. Unfortunately, the entire crew of 37 British sailors were killed.

Today the scattered remains of the H.M.S. Bedfordshire lie approximately 27 miles southeast of Beaufort inlet in 100’ of water. There is still unexpended ordnance on this wreck, divers are encouraged not to touch anything they’re not sure about. Due to the deeper depths and possibility of currents, divers should have a bit of NC wreck diving experience under their weightbelts before attempting this dive. Summer water temperatures usually hover from the upper 70’s to lower 80’s. Visibility averages around 70 feet during the summer months. Marine life divers are treated to include: flounder, spadefish, sheepshead, silver snappers, groupers, eels, stingrays, amberjacks, black sea bass and, occasionally barracudas.

This wreck offers divers a chance to dive into an important, but tragic piece of American and British history.

 
 
 
   

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