Shetland’s hallowed submarine

100 years ago the British submarine HMS E49 struck a mine in the entrance to Balta Sound, Unst, Shetland, and sank with all hands. A ceremony on 12th March 2017 will commemorate the loss of 31 men.

In 2012 I dived and filmed the wreck at 5am on a bright June morning. I think I captured more than images that day; watching it back I feel the reverence of this resting place. The wreck has been colonised by nature and wrapped in a shroud of white sand. This is a tranquil tomb now, and is a fitting memorial to the men who rest inside her.

The Shetland Amenity Trust have asked to use still images from my video on a memorial that’ll be unveiled in the centenary commemoration. It gives me great pleasure to do this.

I’ve uploaded the footage on Vimeo at best quality so it can be seen more widely. I’ve deliberately not cut anything from this film, so this is a 20-minute dive in full. I invite you to pour a glass of your favourite beverage and take the time to settle into this silent world. I hope that in doing so, you’ll experience the essence of this hallowed place.


Images and words by Andy

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