Ammunition to be Removed from Kingston-Built WW1 Ship

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HMCS Thiepval

A historic ship built in Kingston may open soon for scuba divers after the Department of National Defence removes unexploded ammunition from its interior.

HMCS Thiepval was one of twelve WW1 Battle-class naval trawlers constructed and then launched from Kingston in 1917.

That trawler fleet was meant to counter the growing threat of U-Boats operations that could attack merchant shipping.

The coal fired ships were armed with a 12-pound, 3-inch main gun on the front and depth charges, according to Pacific Rim National Park resource conservation manager, Renee Wissink.

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After the war, the Thiepval’s depth charges were removed and it conducted fisheries patrols, custom inspections, policing and search and rescue operations from its base in Esquimalt, BC.

Thiepval struck a reef and sank off the British Columbia coast, between Turret Island and Turtle Island, in 1930.

The site has been popular with scuba divers but was shut down by the Department of National Defence four years ago after the unexploded ammunition still onboard came to light.

The 12-pounder gun is no longer attached to the ship and currently sits in front of the Aquarium in Ucluelet, B.C.’s town square.

The government plans to remove the ordinance this summer at which time scuba diving activities is expected to open.

PhotoNational Defence, Canadian Navy Heritage website via Wikipedia (pd)