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RCAHMW U-boat Project - Abercastle Field School Legacy Day

During 2019 MADU ran a field school on behalf of the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) at Abercastle in Pembrokeshire, South Wales. The field school formed part of Commemorating the Forgotten U-Boat War around the Welsh Coast 1914-18 that was a project co-ordinated by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW), and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The field school took place over a 10-day period from 7th - 17th June 2019, with 90 divers and helpers attending, and was based around recording the remains of the wreck of the SS Leysian, which wrecked in the bay on 20th February 1917. The remains currently lie around 600m from the slipway in Abercastle Bay in around 8 - 16m of water.

Silhouette of the Leysian across Abercastle Bay
An image from the 2019 field school, superimposed with an impression of how the SS Leysian may have looked following the wrecking in 1917.

During the following year (2020), a Legacy Day had been planned to unveil a plaque to commemorate the wrecking of the SS Leysian, and to provide the local community with a report on what the field school managed to achieve. Unfortunately, these plans had to be postponed due to the Covid 19 pandemic, and it was not until 23rd April 2022 that the event was eventually able to take place.

On the Saturday afternoon, a slate plaque that had been provided by the local Mathry Community Council was unveiled by Dr Julian Whitewright, the Senior Maritime Investigator at the Royal Commission.

Unveiling the plaque at Abercastle
Dr Julian Whitewright introducing the unveiling ceremony
Unveiling the plaque at Abercastle
The commemorative plaque is unveiled
Unveiling the plaque at Abercastle
The plaque to commemorate the wrecking of the SS Leysian
Some of the Field School team
Some of the Field School team who attended the unveiling

The day concluded with an evening in the Mathry Community Hall, where a talk was provided outlining what the field school managed to achieve, and a copy of the project's report was handed over to the community as a thank you for putting up with the field school back in 2019.

A full copy of the report can be found at:

Running a Maritime Field School at Abercastle, Pembrokeshire, South Wales as part of the U-boat Project: Commemorating the forgotten U-boat war around the Welsh coast (1914-18)

and a short video can be found at:

A Day in the Life of the Abercastle Field School

For further information regarding the project see:

RCAHMW U-boat Project - NAS Field Schools

RCAHMW U-boat Project - NAS Field School 2018

RCAHMW U-boat Project - NAS Field School 2019

 

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