Why is Newfoundland such a popular diving destination? What makes divers from all over the world dive into our chilly Atlantic waters? There are many reasons, but one of them is born out of respect for WWII history.

In 1942, Nazi Germany twice attacked Newfoundland. Due to the strikes, four ships sank and remain on the bottom of the ocean to this day.

Today we’ll explore what happened in 1942 and how it made Newfoundland a world-famous diving destination. We’ll cover:

  • Why Germany attacked Newfoundland
  • September 5, 1942. Saganaga and Lord Strathcona
  • November 2, 1942. Rose Castle and P.L.M. 27

Why Germany attacked Newfoundland

Newfoundland is rich in natural resources. In 1895, iron mines were opened on Bell Island in Conception Bay, and Newfoundland became a major supplier of iron. So when World War II began, the island became a military target.

September 5, 1942. Saganaga and Lord Strathcona

On the morning of September 5, 1942, ships full of iron ore were anchored near Bell Island, Conception Bay. The German U-513 launched torpedoes at 2 boats, Saganaga and Lord Strathcona, in an effort to cut off the supply of iron to the Allies.

The Saganaga was struck first with 2 torpedoes and sank in 30 seconds, taking the lives of 29 sailors. Half an hour later, the U-boat sank Lord Strathcona. Fortunately, the Lord Strathcona’s crew had already reached safety in lifeboats.

November 2, 1942. Rose Castle and P.L.M. 27

The second attack happened almost 2 months later, on November 2.The German U-518 entered Conception Bay waters and at 3:34 am, while most of the sailors were asleep, attacked the steamer Rose Castle.

The next torpedo was meant to hit another steamer, Anna T, but missed it and crashed the Scotia loading pier instead.

The submarine then charged at Rose Castle again and the streamer sank. The last strike hit the third vessel, P.L.M. 27, and it vanished in the waters just in 1 minute. In total, the tragedy at Bell Island killed 70 men.

How to dive to the WWII Bell Island shipwrecks

The 4 sunken vessels remain on the bottom of Conception Bay. Only divers can visit the WWII shipwrecks. And so many come to the Rock and respectfully dive into the bit of history when a small Newfoundland community appeared on the global war front line.

Ocean Quest Adventures offers Wreck and Reef Diving trips

Runs: May 4th – Nov. 11th

Location: Sunset Key Marina

Duration: 9am to 2pm

Includes: 2 dives, tanks, weights, and snack/lunch

If you’d like to book a dive day trip to the shipwrecks with Ocean Quest, please submit the form here or reach out to us:

🐧 709-722-7234

🐋 frontdesk@oceanquestadventures.com