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Veteran Diver from Monkseaton Uncovers a Piece of History

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Uncovering a piece of history from the bottom of the sea is always a pleasurable experience for most divers. Recently, the 70-year-old veteran diver Robert Lisle felt this pleasure, as he found a silver cup on his North Sea dive, just 72 years after it sank with a wrecked ship.

Robert Lisle

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The ship, called MS Oslofjord, was built as a luxury liner for the Norwegian American Line in 1938, hit a mine in the River Tyne on December 1, 1940, and ever since it lies deep beneath the waves. The crew members were injured in the blast but all managed to escape the ship, although one of them – Yngvar Halvorsen, unfortunately died later that day from his injuries.

Robert, who lives in Monkseaton, North Tyneside, has been diving for 15 years and this time he was out diving with skipper Allan Lopez in his Spellbinder II. Robert says he had been diving on the wreck for many, many times but this was the first time he was so lucky.

‘I saw a big lobster on the bottom and next to it, there was about a quarter of an inch of the cup sticking out. I could see it was silver. I noticed that it was badly damaged, but took it to a jeweler to be cleaned and restored. Now it looks wonderful,’ said Robert.

The cup is made in art nouveau style and is engraved with the flag of the Norwegian American Line. However, the cup is not the only impressive things found by divers on the Spellbinder II. Some two years ago Allan, of North Shields, came across the wreck of the long-lost paddle steamer and minesweeper HMS Snaefell off the Sunderland coast, while in 2009 the team also discovered the wreck of the SS Hogarth off the North East coast.

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