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On This Day… The Raising Of The Mary Rose

Written by: George Chittenden : 08 Jun 2019

It was on this day, 11th Oct, back in 1982 when the remains of the Mary Rose, the pride of Henry VIII's navy, were raised from the seabed of the Solent where she had spent 437 years. The salvage operation had taken 11 years and had cost £4 million to achieve, but at 9.03am her timbers broke the surface and a cannon was fired from the ramparts of Southsea Castle, where the king had stood and watched his flagship keel over four centuries earlier.

So, it would only be fitting that her salvage would be witnessed by royalty, and it was. Prince Charles, President of the Mary Rose Trust witnessed the event. Henry VIII’s naval flagship was built in 1510 and launched in 1511. She was constructed out of approximately 600 trees which were mainly oaks. In the year 1536 she was rebuilt, and an entire extra tier of broadside guns were added.

The Mary Rose in her glory

The Mary Rose in her glory

On the day she sank she’d been engaging French ships, and as she turned she was caught by a strong wind which forced her to lean heavily over to the right, allowing water to gush in through her open gun-ports, which were as little as a metre above the water line. Only around 35 of her crew of at least 400 survived the sinking. The remains of the Mary Rose are on display at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and are well worth a visit.

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