THE STORY OF HOW CHESTER BSAC sorted out the identity of two trawler wrecks off Anglesey would be much easier to tell if we started with the actual identity of the wrecks and told the story backwards, but that would spoil the fun.
A fine piece of diving detective work deserves to have the conclusion revealed later on. Perhaps not right at the end, but certainly not at the beginning.
If you tend to read the final page of a whodunit before the first, do skip ahead.
Both wrecks are off the north side of Anglesey. From the beach at Traeth Bychan, where the Chester BSAC divers usually launch their RIBs, the first is about five miles and the second six miles out, in roughly the same direction.
Club-member Chris Holden, author of the North Wales dive guides, had the club diving a wreck they had come to refer to as Not The Lady Windsor,
the closer wreck in our story. The wreck recorded by the Admiralty database at this location was noted as probably the Lady Windsor, a small wooden-hulled steamer used to lay and repair targets in the aircraft bombing range.
With the repair role in mind, the Lady Windsor had in some reports been referred to as a tug - an understandable mistake, as a section of the curved gunwale at the stern of the wreck has been bent up, and now arches across it in the same way that beams are arched across the aft deck of a tug to prevent cables from fouling.
However, the Lady Windsor had actually drifted ashore at Llanbadrig, and the wooden hull had been burned to recover the copper fittings and nails.
This wreck has a steel hull. It also has trawl gallows, the remains of otter-boards, and a trawl winch - all fairly conclusive; this was not a tug or wooden-hulled steamship. Hence the Not The Lady Windsor title - but if it was a steam trawler, which trawler was it

THE TALE OF DISCOVERY now moves on to the second wreck, a trawler identified as the Kincorth more than 20 years ago, and another regular dive for the Chester BSAC crew.
The Kincorth was a steel-hulled steam trawler originally built in 1909 as a long-liner. During World War One it was in Admiralty service, then returned to commercial fishing after the Armistice.
The Kincorth remained fishing commercially out of Fleetwood during WW2, tragically disappearing with all hands off Anglesey on 10 December, 1941. A mine explosion was heard off Point Lynas, and attributed to the loss of the Kincorth.
The Not The Lady Windsor had suffered an explosion cataclysmic enough to devastate the middle part and break it in two. Such damage could be caused by a mine exploding against the side of the hull.
With the two wrecks in the same area, and no other records of trawlers lost to mines, it was beginning to look as if a better candidate for the Kincorth was the Not The Lady Windsor. If that were the case, what was the Kincorth
In the 1980s, a bell had been recovered marked TR4 (now on display at the Maritime Command Museum, Nova Scotia). Club-member Nigel Cossons traced this back to the Port Arthur Shipbuilding Co in Ontario, Canada, where 60 Castle-class trawlers were built for the Admiralty during WW1, identified as TR1 to TR60.
These were built to the same design as other Castle-class trawlers like the Benton Castle, built in Middlesbrough in 1914 and sunk by a mine off Dartmouth (Wreck Tour 117, October 2008).
TR4 was completed in 1917, but ice-bound in the St Lawrence Seaway through the winter and not commissioned until May 1918, serving the rest of the war with a Canadian crew in the Royal Canadian Navy.
Following the Armistice, TR4 crossed the Atlantic and was laid up in Inverness awaiting sale. In 1926 the Boston Deep Sea Fishing Co of Fleetwood purchased the trawler, renaming her Cartagena, only for her to be laid up again awaiting onward sale.
Eventually the Brazilian government agreed to buy the Cartagena, which was taken to Ostend to be refitted for commercial trawling, then on to Fleetwood, from where a delivery crew of 12 departed for Rio de Janeiro on 15 January, 1928.
Six weeks later, the Cartagena had not arrived. A lifeboat washed ashore at Llandudno on 16 January, then a lifebelt bearing the Cartagenas name washed ashore at Carnforth on 4 February.
The trawler had been carrying enough additional coal in the fish-hold to make the passage to Rio in six weeks without stopping, so it was not until this time had elapsed that her loss became certain.
The lifebelt could have been washed overboard in the force 8 gale that was blowing in the Irish Sea at the time, and the lifeboat could have come from another vessel.

AN ENQUIRY CONCLUDED that the Cartagena and all 12 crew were lost for unknown reasons somewhere in the Irish Sea on or soon after 15 January 1928. Some comment was made about changes in ballast and the quantity of additional coal loaded in the fish-hold, but this was a common practice. Similar Castle-class trawlers had completed journeys to Australia by carrying large stocks of coal in the fish-hold.
The Chester divers revisited the wreck armed with measurements, photographs and drawings of Castle-class trawlers. It was clearly the Cartagena/TR4.
Measurements of the Not The Lady Windsor were harder to check. as the wreck lay in two parts, but combined with the mine damage they were happy to conclude that it was the Kincorth.
It was with the excitement of this discovery that club chairman Justin Owen contacted DIVER. I set off to Anglesey for a few days diving hosted by Chester BSAC, armed with camera, rebreather and wreck-sketching kit.
We began with grave doubts about the sea conditions. A day with local charter-boat Julie-Anne had already been cancelled due to rough weather, a great shame as Kaj Peterson, grandson of the Chief Officer of the Cartagena, also Kaj Peterson, had hoped to visit the site.
He had contacted Chester BSAC after its story of identifying the wreck had been reported in his local newspaper in Fleetwood.
At the campsite the trees were shaking, wind turbines spinning dizzily, rain light but close to horizontal and clouds were hurtling across the sky.
Nevertheless, everyone was infected by start-of-trip excitement, and Justins proposal to drive to the beach at Traeth Bychan to see if we could get out was greeted with enthusiasm.
If we were lucky we might get a dive on the Kincorth, the closer and more sheltered of the two wreck sites.
In fact we were more than lucky. With the RIBs launched and underway, the sea conditions were better than expected, and we carried on past the Kincorth to the Cartagena. Slack water was the same; we were on neap tides and early enough to cover the extra distance.
Luck continued as I descended to the wreck. Visibility was a little grainy but overall pretty good - the Chester divers later remarked that it was the best they had ever seen on the Cartagena.
Chris Holdens shotting of the wreck had accuracy to match the wreck-finding information in his books, with the shot on the deck to the starboard side of the engine-room hatches at 32m.

THE CARTAGENA MAY HAVE BEEN A NEW WRECK for me, but I instantly felt I knew it, as it was essentially a more intact copy of the Benton Castle.
The only notable damage was the helm collapsed backwards on the base of the wheelhouse, then, further aft, the starboard trawl gallows, part collapsed against the deckhouse containing the galley stove and toilet.
By the seabed there was a deep scour at bow and stern to 35m, and sand banked higher on the sides, so no damage was visible lower on the hull.
At the stern, the prop was intact and the rudder over to starboard, roughly matching the position of the steering bar above. I had to double-check this from my photographs, because during the dive for some reason I thought that they may not match, and spent my short deco stops speculating that broken steering in a storm may have caused the loss.
However, with steering bar and rudder aligned, there was no evidence to suggest that the steering was broken.
Being a club trip, the first divers back were soon the boat-handlers for the last divers to get their time on the wreck.
Martin, my buddy, was feeling ill, however, so Justin surfaced to discover me driving one of the club boats.
He promised not to tell about me bumping him slightly during the pick-up if I didnt tell about boat trailers and 4x4 vehicles getting bogged down in the sand when we recovered the boats, or anything about the amphibious capabilities of rental vehicles.
It was all good club-diving fun as we worked to rig tow-ropes and push trailers to beat the incoming tide.

A DAY LATER, THE WEATHER had improved. We would certainly be able to dive the Kincorth for the other half of the tale of two trawlers.
The beach at Traeth Bychan was a mass of speedboats, jet-skis and diving RIBs being launched, but the tide was a fair way out, so there was enough sandy-beach real estate for us all to fit on.
At the southern extent of the wreck site, we found the broken-off bow as far back as the main deck, pointing north. Immediately forward of this was the boiler, standing on end, then, 50m further forward, the stern section.
The propeller pointed back towards the bow, the hull continuing reasonably intact, still heading north, before breaking up just forward of the engine.
Chris and Justin speculate that a mine struck amidships, breaking the wreck in two and sending the bow to the seabed instantly. The stern continued forwards under whatever steam remained in the system and momentum as the boiler tumbled out to land forward of the bow. The stern settled 50m further on.
For the dive I saw all this back-to-front, as the bigger stern is the easier part to shot. While I studied it in detail, Justin ran a line to the bow.

LIKE THE CARTAGENA, the wreck was covered in plumose anemones and swarming with fish, bib above deck and pollack or saithe beneath the overhang of the stern. Considering the instant devastation of the mine explosion, the stern was remarkably intact.
While waiting for Justin, I studied the bent section of gunwale that had once led divers to think the wreck was a tug. Below a pair of anchors stored across the stern, an enormous lobster waved its claws at me.
The man-eating critter theme continued when I followed Justins line to the bow. A big, old and well-barnacled lobster was waving its one remaining claw, and refusing to move from its kingdom next to the boiler.
I was reminded of the Black Knight in Monty Python & The Holy Grail, defiant to the end as his limbs are sliced off one by one in a duel with King Arthur.
The line proved useful for me, but isnt really needed for a diver who knows the wreck. Banks of sand raised by the tide to the west of each section help with navigation, and the short stretch of flat sand in the middle of the gap is easily crossed with a compass, the line being spot-on north-south. There were plenty of conger eels in holes on the wreck, and off the port side of the bow on the sandbank a few more scraps of wreckage were defended by resident lobsters.
On the other side, beneath the trawl winch, were big edible crabs. Several pairs were involved in making more crabs, as were numerous pairs of velvet swimming crabs.
All nice stuff, but the over-riding reason for recommending the dive is that, if I hadnt seen it with my own eyes, I would not have believed how the Kincorth wreck was laid out, its bow pointing towards the aft end of the stern.
Chester BSAC plans to visit both its adopted trawlers regularly to keep an eye on them, and introduce up-and-coming members of the club to some easy deeper diving, as their experience grows.

GETTING THERE: Follow the A55 across North Wales to Anglesey. Once over the bridge, take the A5025 towards Amlwch, then after just under 10 miles turn right to Traeth Bychan.
DIVING: Chester BSAC, Charter-boat Julie-Anne operates out of Amlwch, skipper Elfyn Jones,
ACCOMMODATION: Taldrwst Bach farm, Dulas, has a static caravan and limited camping, and can provide air for divers staying on the site, 01407 832220. It is a bit out of the way, so look up LL68 9RG on Google Maps.
FURTHER INFORMATION: Admiralty Chart 1977, Holyhead to Great Ormes Head. Ordnance Survey Map 114, Anglesey. The Essential Underwater Guide to North Wales, Vol Two, South Stack to Colwyn Bay, by Chris Holden. Anglesey tourist information 01407 762622, tourism/tourinfo.htm