Battle of Jutland ship brought back to life in 3D recreation

A 3D scan of HMS Falmouth by Historic England's imaging team superimposed on a seabed survey of the wreck. The survey was carried out in partnership with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Photo: Historic England
A 3D scan of HMS Falmouth by Historic England’s imaging team superimposed on a seabed survey of the wreck. The survey was carried out in partnership with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Photo: Historic England

HMS Falmouth, a Royal Navy warship sunk by German U-boats, has been recreated in its final resting place through the use of underwater surveying and digital 3D modelling.

The Battle of Jutland ship was sunk off the Yorkshire Coast on August 20, 1916.

According to Historic England, the public body that performed the survey to mark the centenary, HMS Falmouth is the only substantial wreck of a Royal Navy warship that fought in the Battle of Jutland lying in English waters.

Historic England also said this was the first time it has produced a digital 3D model of HMS Falmouth and superimposed it on a detailed survey of the wreck.

The results of the seabed survey, which was carried out in partnership with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, have been combined with a digital 3D image of a builder’s model of HMS Falmouth held by the Imperial War Museum at Chatham Historic Dockyard.

HMS Falmouth was the flagship of the Third Light Cruiser Squadron at the Battle of Jutland, which was the biggest naval engagement of the First World War. Over 100,000 sailors were involved on 250 ships. HMS Falmouth fought at Jutland as part of Vice-Admiral Beatty’s battle cruiser fleet, engaging several German light cruisers and torpedoing the battle cruiser Lützow.

On Sunday 20 August 1916 just a few weeks after Jutland, in a pivotal engagement with the German fleet, HMS Falmouth sank in Bridlington Bay after being struck in two separate torpedo attacks by U-boats. Some 12 crew members lost their lives.

Wayne Cocroft, Senior Investigator at Historic England said: “Throughout the First World War the sea off our coast was an intensely-fought battlefield with many casualties lost within sight of the shore. Aside from war memorials to those lost at sea, the traces of maritime battles are invisible to all but a few.”

“Modern technology is now being used to make our underwater heritage accessible to all. Digital 3D modelling and computer visualisation can recreate the appearance of lost vessels aiding our understanding and remembrance of this largely forgotten conflict.”

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