Speaker Liliane McGeoch

Fri 27th July 2018 at 12.55 - 14.00

Topic:- The Marie Rose

Rotary club of Stirling meeting of 27th July.

President Sandy Farquharson welcomed members to our Friday meeting, and brought us up to date on forthcoming activities. This year we will once again have a shelter box collection.  The outing to Bo’ness railway is on 15th September, a few places still available.

Our speaker, new Rotarian Lilian McGeoch, was born in Belgium, and from the age of 14 had a strong interest in diving, first in quarries, later qualifying as a master diver in the sea, with a special interest in marine archaeology. With this background, she became one of 237 volunteer divers working on the wreck of the Mary Rose. It was made clear to them that as volunteers they had to provide their own insurance. In the course of 1981, and after many dives, they retrieved
19,000 items from the wreck which lay 11 metres deep in the Solent, subject to strong currents and poor visibility, at best 3 to 4 metres.
The ship, 45 metres long and 25metres wide lay at an angle of 60 degrees, much of the fabric was fragile and everything was covered in silt. The process involved removing the silt from the area where you were working, recording and naming finds, dismantling, and bringing items, varying in size from a spoon to a cannon to the surface. They had to avoid touching the wreck and disturbing the silt obscuring their vision and preventing damage to the wreck much of which was very fragile. A grid of scaffolding helped to identify where they were on the wreck, and importantly alerted them if they were drifting off in the current. Diving in these circumstances is dangerous, and their dive time was recorded from a tender on the surface. Time to come up was indicated was indicated by coded taps with a hammer on the ladder. The Mary Rose was the second largest ship in the navy and had seen much action. It sank with a full complement of equipment, so the retrieval of items by the divers, and eventually of the whole boat was of great archaeological importance. Many parts are still in conservation awaiting further examination.

Our next meeting on 3rd August is a fellowship meeting, visitor's host Jan Anderson.

Ian Richardson