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Thursday, April 16, 2015
Tons of Re 1 British raj coins found in 1942 shipwreck
One of the coin boxes discovered at a depth of 5,150 m in the Atlantic Ocean.
Over 70 years after a British steampship from Bombay carrying tons of Indian 1 rupee silver coins to help fund Britain in World War II was torpedoed by a German submarine, its wreck has been discovered in a record deep-dive operation.
The SS City of Cairo was a mixed cargo and passenger ship with 296 people on board belonging to Ellerman Lines and was on a voyage from Bombay to England, via Cape Town and Recife, Brazil, unescorted, in late 1942, in the middle of World War II.
The cargo included some 100 tons of silver coins belonging to the UK Treasury. It was spotted by U-68 on the 6th of November 1942 and torpedoed near St Helena in the south Atlantic.
The story of the torpedo is known but the shipwreck was never found until Deep Ocean Search (DOS), a company specialising in such operations, took on the challenge under a contract with the UK government.
The company gets to keep an unspecified amount of the coins under the contract. DOS said it recovered several tens of tons of silver coins from a depth of 5,150m — a world depth record. The haul is expected to be worth millions of pounds.