Divers from the British Sub Aqua Club’s Southsea branch examined what they believed to be a Landing Craft Tank (LCT), which sank while transporting tanks and bulldozers to northern Frances Juno Beach for the D-Day Landings.

Diving over the second week of August, they noted features that, according to team-leader Alison Mayor, “provided much evidence” that the wreck is that of an LCT sunk on 6 June, 1944, four miles south of Selsey Bill.

The dives were a continuation of a project begun last year when the Southsea divers surveyed a known site where two tanks, two bulldozers and a field-gun lie in a jumbled heap at 20m, eight miles out in Bracklesham Bay.

This time, the divers were out to confirm any wreckage that might be that of an LCT noted by war records to have sunk while under tow after suffering engine trouble. It had first lost its listed cargo of two Centaur tanks – consistent with the tank wrecks found last year.

Having identified a number of potential wreck sites to investigate the divers were, therefore, delighted to find that one of their new targets, seemed to fit the bill.

“The divers found the same 95mm high-explosive ammunition at the landing-craft dive-site as that used by the Centaur tanks at the tanks and bulldozers site,” said Mayor. “This evidence, along with other data collected from the site, has almost certainly proven the wreck site to be that of LCT(A) 2428.”

Further, the absence of any other wreckage at the LCT site tallies with the record of tanks lost from an LCT that sank later while under tow.

While working at the LCT site, the divers found an unexploded bomb, more than a metre long. It was not necessarily linked with the LCT, they thought, but possibly a German aerial bomb which had happened to sink on to the wreck.

The find was reported to Royal Navy bomb disposal experts, who intended to investigate it with a view to possible removal and detonation.

The team also investigated two other wrecks in the area. The barges, called dumb lighters, were used to transport assorted D-Day supplies.

At each site teams of 12 divers took measurements, photos and video footage. Some divers also conducted a survey of attendant marine life.

The project has received a grant from the British Sub Aqua Jubilee Trust. It is supported by Portlands Silent Planet dive centre which, as last year, provided its boat Top Gun for the surveys.

Southsea SAC plans to complete a project report by the end of the summer.

The club would appreciate any information about D-Day activities in the Bracklesham Bay area. Email secretary@southseasubaqua.org.uk