While laying underwater power cables along the west coast of Scotland and England, marine engineers awakened an old myth.
During the £1 billion ($1.2 billion) project, sonar images of the seabed revealed a wreckage believed to be of a 100-year-old German UB-85 submarine. The discovery was made during an ongoing project by the National Grid and Scottish Power, which are placing a 385-kilometer-long (239-mile-long) "Western Link" cable line from Ardneil Bay in Scotland to the Wirral peninsula near Liverpool, England. When completed, this line will provide thousands of homes and businesses in England and Wales with renewable energy from Scottish wind farms.
“The images we get back from the subsea scans are incredibly detailed, but we obviously need to be aware of what lies beneath before we can start laying a power cable,” Peter Roper, project manager at Scottish Power, said in a statement. “In all the years I have been building power lines, I can say that this is the most extraordinary discovery.”
Since it was sunk in the final weeks of World War One, its story has been surrounded by folklore and the stuff of old sea tales. The most popular myth was that it was drowned by a sea monster.
According to the legend, U-boat commander Captain Krech described how the U-boat was forced to surface. Upon doing so, it was attacked by a large sea creature with “large eyes, set in a horny sort of skull. It had a small head, but with teeth that could be seen glistening in the moonlight."
Amidst the panic, British navy ship HMS Coreopsis (below) was said to have captured the submarine and forced the crew into a surrender, before sinking the U-boat.