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Wreckage of a World War I submarine 'disabled by a sea monster' found off Scotland

The submarine had been waiting at the surface when it was found.

A sonar scan of submarine
A sonar scan of submarine
Image: Scottish Power

THE WRECKAGE OF a German submarine subject to internet folklore has been found almost fully intact off the coast of Scotland.

SM UB-85 went down in 1918 according to official records. The British Imperial War Museum says it was sunk by HMS Coeropsis, but cryptozoology theorists say it was damaged by a sea monster.

The submarine had been waiting at the surface – recharging its batteries – when it was found.

Legend has it that Captain Gunther Krech was questioned by his superiors and testified that a “strange beast” had come up the vessel, with officers firing at it with their sidearms.

The animal was so large that it is claimed it forced the U-boat to list greatly to starboard.

“Every man on watch began firing a sidearm at the beast,” Krech is believed to have said, telling how the battle continued until the animal dropped back into the sea.

In the struggle, though, the forward deck plating had been damaged and the sub could no longer submerge. “That is why you were able to catch us on the surface,” the captain is said to have concluded.

The legend has persisted in some circles for nearly a decade.

Now, marine engineers working on the Western Link project, a ScottishPower project which will take renewable power from Scotland to homes and businesses in England and Wales, have found the wreckage.

Britain Loch Ness Monster File photo purporting to be of the Loch Ness Monster. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Innes McCartney is an historian and nautical archaeologist who has been working with the Scottish Power team in a bid to identify the wreck.

He said the mystery is closer to being solved.

“We’re certainly closer to solving the so-called mystery of UB-85 and the reason behind its sinking – whether common mechanical failure or something that is less easily explained.”

Gary Campbell, keeper of the Official Sightings Register of the Loch Ness Monster, said:

It is entirely feasible that some large sea creature disabled the submarine. The WWI report from the Captain of the British ship HMS Hilary a year earlier makes it clear that seafarers at that time were well aware of large sea ‘monsters’ that could be harmful to their ships.

“It’s great to see how Nessie’s saltwater cousin clearly got involved in helping with the war effort – she even managed to do the damage without anyone being killed.”

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