Of the dozen or so wrecks from the Battle of Jutland, the wreck of the Invincible is the most spectacular and the most awe-inspiring.
The Invincible stands out among the other Jutland wrecks because the stern-half of the wreck is upright on the sea bed. Large warships invariably turn turtle when sinking and end up upside-down. Invincible, therefore, is unique among battleship wrecks found at 50m.
A dive starting at the stern and swimming forward is a truly revelatory experience. Here you can actually get a feel for the sheer size of the ships of the Grand Fleet, with their broad sweeping decks and wonderfully graceful lines. After a while the decking gives way to the sight of ‘Y’ turret with its two 27-tonne, 12-inch guns still pointing to starboard. Swimming over the guns, you can look down into the turret, because the roof was blown off when the ship exploded. This reveals that the two breeches are closed and ready to fire. All around the turret are unexploded shells and pieces of the ship.
Everything is on such a huge scale that it simply takes your breath away.
I’ve dived this wreck on five expeditions now. Each time, the wreck has stunned the divers who hadn’t seen it before. Its ability to do this to even the most non-wreck-oriented technical divers is unique in my experience. It simply never fails to impress. While the usually excellent visibility undoubtedly plays its part, there is something exceptionally special about ‘Y’ turret when it looms out of the North Sea gloom.
HMS Invincible sank in May 1916 under the combined fire of two German battle cruisers, exploding in a fireball, which claimed all but one of the 1,027 on board. This makes her one of the Royal Navy’s largest graves. This horrific statistic combined with the wreck’s visual splendour, make it undoubtedly one of the key wreck dives in the northern hemisphere.