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On a rain lashed night in November 1940 Sunderland flying boat serial No T9044 was at her mooring on Milford Haven. As the winds tore at her, the forward mooring post ripped away leaving her fatally wounded. Silently and unseen, she sank to the seabed 50 feet below. There, she would remain, a sleeping giant waiting to be re-awakened.

Fast forward to a new century, it has been more than a decade since local diver Nick Hammond (now PDSTdivegroup's Diving Officer) discovASWHLered T9044 while working to recover a local fishermans snagged lobster pots. Now the world's only remaining Mk 1 Sunderland flying boat, T9044 has become a local legend having regular newspaper articles and an entire TV program made about her. In addition to this, the Pembroke Dock Sunderland Trust (PDST) has been founded to enable recovery and recording of artefacts from T9044 with eventual public display. Over 70 volunteers now work with the Trust, which in 2014 moved to its new home in the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre. Of these volunteers, a small number form the PDSTdivegroup, a recreational dive team working to professional standards. The PDSTdivegroup are the only divers allowed to dive or work on the wreck.

The Short S.25 Sunderland, in spite of being one of the last flying-boats designed, was durable enough to remain in service for some twenty-one years, and is generally considered to have been one of the finest flying boats ever built. Designed and manufactured by Short Brothers to meet the requirements of the Air Ministry Specification R.2/33.

Short's Chief Designer, Arthur (later Sir Arthur) George, prepared a tender which was submitted to the Ministry in 1934. The Design was based on the Company's C Class "Empire" flying boats which had been operated by Imperial Airways in the 1930s. The Air Ministry accepted the proposal and placed an order in March of 1936, a full eighteen months before the prototype (K4774) made its maiden flight on 16th October 1937. Deliveries to the Royal Air Force began in June 1938 with the first batch of production Sunderland Mk 1's being delivered to No.230 Squadron based in Singapore. The Sunderlands represented a huge leap forward in capability and would replace the RAF's mixed fleet of biplane flying boats.

Sources:
Aircraft of World War II (Chris Chant, Dempsey-Parr, 1999)
Collins-Jane's Aircraft of World War II
The World Encyclopedia of Bombers (Francis Crosby, Anness Publishing, 2004)

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Divers carrying out excavation work on the starboard inner engine
Illuminated is one of the nine starboard inner radial engine cylinders, also, the cylinder closest to the camera is just visible. On the far side a connecting rod can be seen
Just visible is one of the connecting rods and beyond that an engine cylinder
We believe this to be a spare engine carried down to Pembroke Dock by T9044. It is face down (propellor end) in the silt. Visible is the central drive shaft and supercharger impellor. To the left can be seen the engine crank case. This appears to be the most intact of all the engines.