Lower Stondon diver finds 109 year old bell on seabed

A DIVER has identified a shipwreck that has lain on the seabed for more than 109 years.

Pete Hodkin, from Plum Tree Road, Lower Stondon, was diving what has been known for many years as ‘wreck 355’ when he discovered the ships bell bearing its real name – The SS Ladoga.

Pete who is the training officer at Mid Herts Divers in Welwyn Garden City, said: “Finding a bell is one of the most exciting and valuable things a diver could find. It is usually the only positive means of identification.”

Pete was diving with 11 other members of Mid Herts Divers, from a boat run by Dive 125 who are based in Eastbourne when he made the discovery on Saturday.

Pete said: “Before jumping in, the boats skipper told us to bring up anything we find that might help identify the wreck.

“I was swimming along when I saw something round in the sand. At first I thought it was a plate. As I got a bit closer I thought it could be a bucket but as I picked it up I realised it was a bell.”

The brass bell bears the words ‘SS Ladoga 1892 London’.

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Records show that the SS Ladoga disappeared after a collision off the coast of Hastings on March 15, 1903.

It was a steam cargo ship that was built by William Doxford and Sons Ltd in Sunderland in 1892. It was renamed SS Miraflores in 1900.

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