HMS KassandraA C-class cruiser struck a mine off the coast of Saaremaa on the night of December 4-5, 1918 en route to Tallinn and sank quickly, killing the Royal 400-man crew, killing 11, according to the Navy.
The wreck was rediscovered over 10 years ago by the Estonian Navy (Merevägi) and the Estonian Maritime Museum (Meremuuseum) and officially announced.
Now the Devonport-based HMS echo, a survey ship, could get an idea Cassandra Wreck over multi-beam echo shows that she has come to rest on her starboard side and that about 20 meters of her bow section is missing.
HMS Kassandra was laid down during World War I and commissioned from the Royal Navy in June 1917 to do active service in both that war and the Baltic Sea.
Royal Navy Surveyor P.O. Kirsty Warford said, “Of all the wrecks in the Baltic Sea, I was most interested in HMS Kassandra. It was very gloomy to see the images of the wreck emerge as Echo sailed over where it had sunk and the ship’s company paused to think of those who perished. “
The ship played a role in Estonia’s independence
Kassandra was part of a Royal Navy force deployed in the Baltic region in support of the independence of Estonia and Latvia, and as part of an Allied plan to intervene in the then-ongoing Russian civil war.
Imperial Russia had been a British ally during World War I, which ended less than a month before Cassandra’s death, although the Bolshevik seizure of power in October 1917 was followed by a peace treaty with Germany that got Russia out of the war altogether.
The Royal Navy’s actions in delivering arms and supplies, clearing mines, and deploying Red Russian ships were critical in preventing Tallinn from falling to the Bolsheviks, and ultimately Estonia gained independence, which it gained in February 1918 Signing of the Tartu peace treaty had declared two years later.
Two Red Russian destroyers who Avtroil and the Spartakwere captured by the Royal Navy and handed over to the Estonians, who were renamed ENS Lennuk and ENS Vambola (The former was later sold to the Peruvian Navy).
Two other wrecks of Royal Navy ships are also nearby, both minesweepers, HMS myrtle and HMS gentianwho both suffered the same fate as Kassandraon July 15, 1919.
HMS echo had been in the area for the first few weeks of this year and had examined several other wrecks nearby, including MV Wilhelm Gustloff, a German transport ship that was torpedoed by the Soviet Navy in January 1945 while transporting civilians from the former East Prussia. This incident is the largest death of a ship in the history of the sea, with an estimated loss of 9,400 people.
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