Identifying the wreck of HMS E-47

Dear Mac Gregory,

Whilst scanning the Internet with Google on subjects of my interest, I came across your site Ahoy, Mac's Web Log. To be precise, the letters on the following page;


This page concerns one of the crew members of submarine E-47. It is mentioned on this page that the wreck was found, but does not  report further details.

I want to let you know that I was the person that managed to identify the wreck of E-47. Attached you will find the letter I wrote to the Naval Historical  Branch of the Royal Navy, which also tells how.



Ministry of Defence
Naval Historical Branch
3-5 Great Scotland Yard

Vlieland, woensdag 10 april 2002
Dear Sir,

I would like to inform you about the following;

Past two years we, wreckdivers of Divingteam Noordkaap from the island Vlieland in the north of the Netherlands, made several surveys on a wreck of a British WW I submarine.
This wreck lies in the Northsea about six nautical miles northwest of the Frisian Island Texel.
This wreck was discovered several years ago, but there were no clues as to the identity of this wreck. Observations on the wreck made clear it was a Royal Navy E-type submarine.

Last year the deckgun, which was torn off of its fundaments probably by a trawler and which was lying beside the wreck, was salvaged by Divingteam Ecuador from Terschelling.
The number of this 12 pdr. 8 cwt Quick Firing gun, engraved in the bronze screw breech, is 1641.
Correspondance with the Museum of Naval Firepower in Gosport showed that this gun was fitted on the deck of HMS E47. The letter of Derek Gurney, Curator of the Museum of Naval Firepower, says;

A gun record has been found that a 12 pdr. 8 cwt Quick Firing gun serial 1641 was issued to submarine E47 on 16 September 1916. The last entry in the record is ’Lost at Sea’

A total of 26 E-type Royal Navy submarines were lost during WW I, 13 of these are reported; Lost in the Northsea.
With this, I think, its save to say that the wreck that bears the Dutch Hydrographic Department wrecknumber 927, and which lies in position 53 06 810 N and 04 33 280, is that of HMS E47.

Observations on the wreck give the impression that E47 has hit a mine. The remains of the hull show a large hole at the portside of the control-room section. The bow lies in an easterly direction, wich might say E47 was still on it’s way to it’s patrol area.

You can add this information to your file on HMS E47. I might be of use for now or in the future.

Yours sincerely,

Dirk Bruin
researcher divingteam Noordkaap Vlieland

To my surprise I did not receive an answer, nor a confirmation of receipt, to my letter. I also noticed that the official website e.g. the one from the Submarine Museum do not report the finding and identification of the wreck.

I think the disregard of my report has something to do with new legislation in the UK concerning diving on wrecks which are seen as war graves, which of course they are. For more information on this, have a look at ;


However, new laws on this matter are only active in British waters, so Dutch divers, diving in Dutch waters do not break any law when they dive on the wreck of a Royal Navy vessels lying in Dutch waters. A consequence of the position of the Royal Navy is that people interested in this matter do not get informed. Through other channels I had contact with at least one relative of one of the crew members of E-47, and through your website it becomes clear that more people are interested in the fate of this submarine.

Maybe you can put this letter on your site, and I would be very happy to inform others interested in the wreck of E-47. Knowing E-47 is lying close to the island I live on, I now gather information on this submarine and its crew members. On your site details are given on the Lieutenant Colin Francis Creswell RN.

This was very welcome for my file I have on E-47.

I would like to obtain a photo of Lt. Creswell, maybe you, or the  readers of your weblog can be of assistance in obtaining this. A photo, and the details of Colin Francis Creswell, will be used in a presentation in our local historical museum in which we have a section about shipwrecks, strandings and ship disasters on, and close to our coast.

Kind regards,

Dirk Bruin
The Netherlands

Hello Dirk,

Thank you for your fascinating message, we will add those details to Ahoy.

I am sorry but I cannot find a photo of Colin Creswell anywhere, but am still trying some Australian contacts.

I will be in touch again should I succeed.

Best wishes and regards.

Mac. Gregory.

Dear Mac.,

Thank you for your reply.

I would appreciate your assistance in trying to find a photo of Colin Creswell, maybe the readers of your weblog might also be of help.

I have attached two photo's of the deckgun of E-47, maybe you can add these to my contribution to Ahoy.

Please be so kind to correct some spelling mistakes in my first email before you add them to your site. I did noticed them after I transmitted my message, and find them a bit bothering.

Kind regards and best wishes to you,


Dirk Bruin.

Postweg 1
8899 BZ Vlieland
The Netherlands

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