Tugs played a vital role in both World Wars, and particularly in the dark days of WW2 when the UK was in desperate need of the vital supplies being brought over the Atlantic in the convoys of Merchant Ships. Most were manned by the T124T (H.M. Rescue Tugs) section of the Royal Navy a lot of these being experienced Merchant Seamen and Trawler men recruited by the Royal Navy. Some were manned by Royal Navy itself, and some by Merchant Seamen who flew the Red Ensign.
It was a difficult and dangerous job - out in all weathers, and on manyoccasions coming under enemy fire. Many of these men lost their lives in the course of their service. 20 Tugs were lost during the war either by enemy action or capsizing in seas they were never designed to cope with.
One such tug was the "Saucy" now lying in 17m - 23m in the Forth. Built by Livingstone & Cooper in 1918 and displacing 579 tons, she was requisitioned at the start of WW2. After only a year of active service, she sunk after hitting a German mine on 4 September 1940.
Of thetwenty eight crew that day, all lost their lives including eighteen men from one small town - Brixham.
Today, to dive HMS Saucy is a moving experience. As one of the most intact wrecks in the Forth, as you descend down the shot-line you immediately gain a sense of what she must have looked like afloat. Her deck gun, most of her superstructure and anchors are still in place, albeit covered in a mass of anemones. As you swim along her you still come across strewn debris, a reminder of her role and of her crew.The stern section lies approx 100m to the south.
The wreck should be dived on with the greatest respect, never forgetting that many men lost their lives when she sank. As a war grave, a strict no touch policy is in force.
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