Type: Wreck Tonnage: 5382 tonnes Length: Cargo: Food supplies (powdered egg, baby food, meat and blankets)
Date Lost: 1945 How Lost: Torpedoed by UB-1017
Max Depth Seabed: 30m Depth to top of Wreck: 25m
Minimum Qualification: Advanced Open Water
The Persier, formally known as the War Buffalo, was built in Newcastle in 1919 and took part at Dunkirk in 1940. She nearly sank while doing convoy duty from America to Britain in 1941. She remained stranded off Iceland for over a year until she was towed back to Britain to be repaired. In 1945 on convoy duty off Eddystone she was hit by a couple of torpedoes from UB-1017. Support vessels managed to rescue the crew and passengers and she was left to drift into the night. She sank but no one knew where.
In 1969, a fisherman found the wreck in Bigbury Bay. Divers from Plymouth Sound went down and brought up the ship's bell, which now lives in Ray Ive’s Diving Museum in Plymouth. They bought the wreck for 300 pounds and still own her.
She lies on a sandy-rocky bottom with extensive and interesting reefs around her. Her bows and stern are fairly recognisable, but the midships is a mess of plates and wreckage. The bow is quite upright and stands some 10m above the seabed. Three large boilers can be seen. The remains of the engine with large pistons scattered over the wrecked plates are easily found.
The Persier supports an amazing amount of fish life. Bib and Pollack are especially common. The visibility and water quality is usually quite good.