Crispin Sadler’s discovery of SV Carl – hidden since 1917 at Booby’s Bay near Padstow in Cornwall

The storms that have hit the UK over the last few weeks have revealed some surprising relicts of the past.

Crispin Sadler on a half term visit to North Cornwall, suspecting that the sheer power of the waves might have stripped away enough sand to show more of a shipwreck on his local beach was more than surprised by what he found.

On Booby’s Bay, tucked into the base of Trevose Head the remnants of old sailing ship wrecked on the coast during the 1st WW are now exposed to the open air for the first time in decades.


‘I reckon about a metre of sand has been stripped off this beach and although I have seen some of this wreckage in the past, I have never seen so much revealed as at this time. The wreckage is from a ship called the SV Carl wrecked on October 7th 1917, a German sailing ship that was being towed to London and broke its tow. The majority of the ship was salvaged and this is all that is left which is remarkably good condition from being under the sand all these years.’

The Carl was a 1,993 ton steel sailing ship launched by Ribson & Co of Maryport, Cumbria in 1893. She was registered in Hamburg. It appears the Carl was impounded by the British authorities in 1914, spending most of the 1st World War in the dock at Cardiff. In 1917 she was being towed to London for the purpose of scrapping but didn’t make it.

Although salvors took away most of the superstructure and hull it is surprising what they left. ‘Masts and mooring bollards are some of the more obvious parts of the ship that have reappeared, all caked in a black substance known as concretion which now offer some protection from corrosion – a process which will be speeding up the longer it remains in the open air and sea water.’

‘The sand is returning, even in twenty four hours some of wreckage had already been covered.’

The storm was awesome, the week before I went down to Cornwall to see it at its height. The waves were as large as I have ever seen, the surface of the sea was totally white and the amount of spray being kicked up by these monumental walls of water hitting the rocks was phenomenal. The wind, especially at the tip of Trevose Head must have been violent storm force 11, ie over 100 miles per hour. I could hardly stand up and at times I thought it would even pick me up and blow me away.

The damage caused this storm can be seen up and down the coast, new rockfalls, beaches denuded of sand, coastal defences wrecked and in the case of the Carl revealed to the world for the first time in decades.


Daily Mail – First World War German shipwreck is uncovered by storms in remote Cornish bay almost a century after it sank while being towed by Royal Navy

BBCUK storms: World War One wreck revealed on beach

Mallinson Sadler Productions (MSP) is the documentary division of Mallinson Television Productions (MTP), Scotland’s largest and most successful commercials production company. Headed up by documentary producer, Crispin Sadler, MSP is dedicated to the production of high quality films in the areas of history, science, natural history and sport.