Innes McCartney

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Dr. Innes McCartney
Innes McCartney.jpg
Born 1964
Nationality British
Education Keele, Exeter and Bournemouth Universities
Occupation Archaeologist, author, broadcaster
Known for Discovery of historic shipwrecks, archaeology of modern shipwrecks, television contributor, author
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Dr. Innes J. McCartney is a British nautical archaeologist, historian, author and television contributor resident in the United Kingdom. He is known for his discovery and archaeological research into shipwrecks including the wrecks of the Battle of Jutland, 1916 and many British and German submarine wrecks. He is a regular contributor to shipwreck documentaries, such as Time Team Special, Deep Wreck Mysteries and Wreck Detectives[1] series, and is a popular speaker at shipwreck conferences[2] and dive shows. McCartney is probably best known for his work in using archaeological research to identify 40 new German submarine wrecks in the waters around the UK and Ireland, such as the rubber-coated U480.

McCartney has trained as a historian and archaeologist at the Universities of Keele (BA (hons), MA), Exeter (MA) and Bournemouth (PhD). He initially became interested in shipwreck archaeology when he learned to dive in 1989. In 1994 he became one of Britain's first Trimix-certified scuba divers and 1998 became the first person to have dived on the three great liner wrecks, SS Andrea Doria, RMS Lusitania and HMHS Britannic. Over the past two decades Innes has focused on researching and locating lost historic shipwrecks and finding innovative methods to interpret his fieldwork.

In 1999 he discovered the 12-inch-gunned submarine HMS M1[3][4] off Start Point in the English Channel.

In 2001 he located the wrecks of HMS Indefatigable[5][6] and HMS Defence,[7][8] sunk at the Battle of Jutland and in 2003 co-produced the Channel 4 documentary "Clash of the Dreadnoughts"[9] which examined all of the larger wrecks in detail.

Between 2001 and 2003 McCartney led three expeditions to locate and identify some of the U-boats sunk during Operation Deadlight. Fourteen U-boats were surveyed and several new sites were discovered[10][11] including the rare Type XXI U-boat, U2506,[12] once under the command of Horst von Schroeter and the successful Type IXC U-boat, U155[13] commanded by Adolf Piening.

In 2003, McCartney was featured in the Channel 4 series Wreck Detectives. In the film he identified the mystery World War I U-boat off Trevose Head, Cornwall as UB65[14] by scraping the propellers to reveal the shipyard stamp. This proved that even at 60 metres depth, war graves of this type can be identified by divers without the need scavenge parts from them.

In 2006 McCartney featured in a Deep Wreck Mysteries episode which depicted the search for the identity by Innes of three mystery U-boats of the north coast of Cornwall. The film, "U-boat Death-Trap" won the Desmond Wettern British Maritime Foundation Film and Documentary Award. In the same year he discovered the German auxiliary raider HSK Komet in the English Channel after a long search[15][16] and returned the following year to survey both halves of the wreck . At the time, it was the only known example of this type of warship anywhere in the world.

In 2008 he found the White Star Line transport SS Armenian[17][18] off the Scilly Isles as part of the Deep Wreck Mysteries[19] television series. He also featured in the episodes "Death of a Battleship" which investigated the loss of HMS Audacious in 1914 and in "Stealth Sub" which investigated the loss of U480, a sub he had previously identified in 1998.

In 2011 he identified the very early U-boat, UA[20] off Folkestone. German built in 1912 and destined for the Norwegian navy, it was taken over by the Imperial German Navy in 1914. It was long thought to have been scrapped in France after 1918.[21]

In 2012 McCartney worked alongside wreck hunter David Mearns on an archaeological investigation of the wreck of HMS Hood, sunk in 1941. This project was supported by philanthropist Paul Allen aboard his yacht Octopus. The expedition findings are the subject of the Channel Four documentary "How the Bismark sank HMS Hood".[22]

In 2013 McCartney featured as the lead contributor on a Time Team Special entitled "The Lost Submarine of WW1".[23] This film examines the pioneering submarines of The First World War. He also positively identified the remains of the WW1 U-boat wrecks UC-72[24] and UB-114[25] in the waters of the English Channel.

In 2014 McCartney completed a PhD at Bournemouth University entitled "The Maritime Archaeology of a Modern Conflict: Comparing the archaeology of German submarine wrecks to the historical text", which shows the extent to which archival sources relating U-boat war losses in UK waters differ from the actual distribution of known, surveyed and identified U-boat wrecks. Over 40% of the U-boat wrecks investigated had no historical precedent. The accuracy of the historic text fell as low as 36% during 1945.[26] The entire thesis, including further U-boat surveys and additional research will be published by Routledge in December 2014.



  • Innes McCartney (2014 (forthcoming December)). The Maritime Archaeology of a Modern Conflict: Comparing the archaeology of German submarine wrecks to the historical text. 
  • McCartney, Innes (December 2013). "Jutland 1916: The Archaeology of a Modern Naval Battle: The Wreck of HMS Invincible, The World's First Battle Cruiser". SKYLLIS, The Journal of the German Society for the Promotion of Underwater Archaeology – Vol.12 No.2. 
  • McCartney, Innes (March 2012). "The Armoured Cruiser HMS Defence: A Case Study in Assessing the Royal Navy Shipwrecks of the Battle of Jutland 1916 as an Archaeological Resource". International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. 
  • Innes McCartney (2008). British Submarines in World War One. 
  • McCartney, Innes (September 2007). "The Anatomy of a Submarine Wreck". DIVER. 
  • Innes McCartney (2006). British Submarines in World War Two. 
  • Innes McCartney (2003). Lost Patrols: Submarine Wrecks of the English Channel. 
  • McCartney, Innes (February 2002). "Operation Deadlight U-boat Investigation". After the Battle. 

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