Divers have found the last remaining piece from one of Lord Nelson’s most famous warships – a giant sunken ANCHOR.
The massive anchor was part of HMS Colossus – which sank in waters off the Scilly Isles off Cornwall in 1798.
She was lost to the sea while sheltering from severe storms as it brought back Greek vases and wounded men from the Battle of the Nile. It participated in the Siege of Toulon in 1793, the 1795 Battle of Groix and the 1797 Battle of Cape St. Vincent.
More than 200 sailors were on board but thanks to careful steering by her captain all escaped – and the only fatality was a man sent back to check the depth of the water.
She was also carrying a hoard of valuable pottery belonging to Sir William Hamilton, husband of Lady Emma, the famous beauty and mistress of Nelson.
The remains of the 74-gun ship were located in 1974 and much of the ship has already been scooped up and preserved at the British Museum.
But the final prized artefact – the 29ft wide anchor – remained undiscovered for nearly four decades before divers Todd Stevens and Robin Burrows launched a fresh hunt.
After studying tide patterns and historical accounts of the stormy conditions in December 1798 they found anomalies on a sonar scan.
Mr Stevens said: “I went down and I could see two tips sticking about two feet out of the sand. I started digging around them and I just knew straight away what it was.
“I came up and went back up the ladder and said to Robin, ‘you’d better get your camera out.’ I said, ‘It’s an anchor, but not just any old anchor. I think it’s what we have been looking for’.”
Mr Burrows added: “You run your hand along this anchor and it’s huge, 20 feet or so. Then you think that the last time this was dry was back in 1798. It’s a really amazing thought.”
Mr Stevens, a prolific chronicler of wrecks, is already responsible for locating numerous other remains, including a ship suspected to have belonged to Sir Walter Raleigh.
He added: “The Colossus has been a big part of my life. Everything else from the ship has been found, the guns and the wreck and how it is spread out, but the only thing that was missing was the anchor.
“It was the final piece of the jigsaw and to find it is quite exciting.”