Saturday, 24 September 2016

The HMS Sussex

The HMS Sussex was an 80-gun ship of the English Royal Navy, lost in a severe storm on 1 March 1694 off Gibraltar.

Pride of the Royal Navy, the flagship of Admiral Sir Francis Wheler was built in April 1693 and sailed from Portsmouth on December 27, 1693, escorting a fleet of 48 warships and 166 merchant ships to the Mediterranean. On board were 10 tons of gold coins.
A violent storm hit the flotilla near the Strait of Gibraltar and in the early morning of March 1, 1694 the HMS Sussex sank, joining the fate of 12 other ships of the fleet. Only two survived of the 500 crew on board. Admiral Wheler's body was found on the eastern shore of the rock of Gibraltar two days later still clad in his night-shirt and 'much mangled'.

There were approximately 1,200 casualties in total, in what remains one of the worst disasters in the history of the Royal Navy.
The sinking of the Sussex was observed by several eye witnesses who later testified at a hearing held by the Royal Navy. Two vessels also witnessed her sinking and reported the loss in their logs.

Records suggest that a shipment of money equal to a million pounds sterling was destined for Savoy, shipped aboard HMS Sussex. The secret funds never reached Savoy. Compelling evidence suggests that the enormous payment went down with the ship.
Between 1998 and 2001, Odyssey Marine Exploration searched for the HMS Sussex and announced that it had located the shipwreck at a depth of 800 metres.

Due to various conflicted interests Odyessey has "postponed further work on the project to allow diplomatic issues to be resolved."


The ship’s cargo of gold make HMS Sussex one of the most valuable wrecks of all time.