As you probably know the 9th expedition searching for the Polish submarine ORP Orzeł started in March 2020. The team has made some good contacts in Denmark as their past few expeditions have sailed from there. This year they conducted a joint expedition: Santi Find the Eagle with the Sea War Museum Jutland in Thyboron. Although they have still not found our lost submarine this year they made more progress and did confirm the location of the wreck of WW1 British submarine HMS L10. Piotr Michalik from London has prepared an update on the latest Santi Find the Eagle expedition.
On 9th March 2020 the “Santi Find the Eagle” team returned to harbour from their latest expedition. The voyage in March experienced adverse weather conditions, with 7m waves and high winds, but much was achieved in the 5 days at sea.
Their mission is to find the legendary Polish WW2 submarine ‘ORP Orzeł’, which went missing on her sixth and last patrol which commenced on 23 May 1940 sailing out of Rosyth under Royal Navy command. The ship and her heroic Polish and British crew were declared lost when she failed to return to base by 8 June 1940. The inspiring story of Orzeł’s daring escape from Nazi internment in Estonia in the opening days of the Second World War is well known.
For this ninth expedition, particularly special as it was taking place on the 80th anniversary of the disappearance of the polish submarine, the mission took place in partnership with the Sea War Museum Jutland, sailing from the Danish port of Thyborøn, the base for the previous three expeditions. This year the vessel chosen for the search was the survey ship M/S VINA, 77 m long, 14 m, wide belonging to J D Contractor, which is fully fitted with multibeam scanning equipment and facilities for diving.
The Polish / Danish expedition consisted of 26 members, including Gert Normann of Sea War Museum Jutland and eight Poles, divers: Tomasz Stachura, Lukasz Piorewicz, Marek Cacaj, Jacek Kapczuk, Piotr Lalik and Lukasz Pastwa. Historian Piotr Michalik and TV camera man Jerzy Rudzinski completed the “Santi Find The Eagle” team representatives involved in the search.
Between 4th and 9th March 2020 the crew sailed 743 miles, aiming to check specific points located in the area of British and German minefields during WW2. 32 points were checked and 20 wrecks scanned, of these two were submarines, raising the hopes of all involved that one might be ‘ORP Orzeł’, It was not, but one of these ships was identified as British WW1 submarine HMS L10 which was lost over 100 years ago, on 3 October 1918. The wreck, found near the island of Terschelling, was examined using an ROV and the “Santi Find the Eagle” divers explored underwater, taking the first photographs of the submarine despite poor visibility. Knowing the account of the destruction of HMS L10, it is likely that a second wreck, located just 160m from the submarine, is a badly damaged German destroyer that took part in the sinking of the British vessel.
In total, in all past expeditions, the “Santi Find the Eagle” team have located over 400 wrecks. In 2017, they discovered the position of another British WW2 submarine, HMS Narwhal. This year’s search did not result in the long sought after goal, but the whole team is even more determined to find ‘ORP Orzeł’ on another expedition that will be taking place soon, possibly this year.
If you have any information that could help the search please get in touch with the team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
More about the project can be seen at:
Author: Piotr Michalik
Piotr Michalik, who has a background in finance and expertise in financial technology, is the only member of the team based in the UK. He focuses on historical research and detailed mapping of the search area, providing the team with new theories to test as well as taking an active role in expeditions.