T: +44 (0) 1423 789 133

FOUND: HMS BARHAM 1941

Merlin Burrows have found and pin-pointed the exact location of the wreck of HMS Barham – a Queen Elizabeth-class battleship built for the Royal Navy in February 1913. The HMS Barham was torpedoed by U-331, a German c-class submarine captained by Freiherr Von Tiesenhausen, and sunk in the Eastern Mediterranean in November 1941.

The HMS Barham was named after Admiral Charles Middleton, also known as Lord Barham, who became the First Lord of the Admiralty at the time of Trafalgar 1762-1813. He was well known for working with the famous Admiral Horatio Nelson .

On the 24th of November HMS Barham (joined by the Queen Elizabeth, Valiant and eight destroyers) was deployed from Alexandria on a mission to provide cover for the 7th and 15th squadrons searching for military convoys on the passage to Benghazi. On the 25th of November the ships came under fire from the German U-331.

There was no time for evasive action, three of the four torpedoes fired struck the port side of the Barham. The ships were positioned very close together, so the impact of the explosives caused a massive water column to be thrown out of the water, visible to all neighbouring vessels. Barham quickly capsized to port and soon after, while laying on her side an unexpected magazine explosion occurred which resulted in her sinking. The Court of Enquiry, responsible for investigating the sinking, ascribed the final magazine explosion to a fire amongst the 4-inch magazines, which would have then spread further, leading to the detonation of the main 15-inch magazines that were stored onboard.

This find is one that has been anticipated heavily for many years and we are ecstatic to have found it here at Merlin Burrows. All interested parties are warmly invited to send any enquires to Merlin Burrows directly for further details and information on this find, or any others listed on our website, or otherwise.