Possible Norwegian discovery of HMS Thistle

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At 170 metres deep, Norwegian researchers stumbled over a historic find

Kyrre Heldal Kartveit is a researcher at the Institute of Marine Research.

He is working hard to map the seabed. He can spend hours looking at seabeds, mud and shrimp.                                                                                                                                                          But tonight the job will be a whole annan.

TV 2 will join in when the researchers look down into the depths, at a secret town outside Karmøy, to find answers to an 83-year-old mystery.
April 10, 1940
April 09, 1940
It is the day after the Germans invaded Norway.
Germany invades Norway
As war breaks out, British ships patrol along the Norwegian coast.

Several are stationed outside Rogaland. The good hamns and the large airport at Sola make this an important and strategic area in the war.


In the event of a battle in the North Sea, the use of the airport and the hams can mean the difference between loss and victory.

It is to this area that Norwegian marine explorers are on their way, 83 years later.

Because of the fann here, they don’t want to give the exact location.

October 7, 2023
On a ship loaded with advanced equipment, the foreigners set course for the sea.
Since 2005, researchers have been involved in an enormous project to map the Norwegian seabed.

There is still a lot that remains.


“We have so little clue about what is on the seabed. We have better maps of some of the sky games than we have of large sea areas, says Kyrre Heldal Kartveit.


For that, it was extra exciting when one of the cameras they previously roamed past no other than sediment and marine organisms.

It is not the first gong they have discovered wrecks on the Norwegian seabed, but they quickly saw that this wreck was special.

“It was totally surreal. We didn’t have a good enough camera to identify the wreck, but we saw that this had to be a submarine.


With that, the hunt was on. At the British Royal Navy, they learned that two of the deira submarines that were seinka off the coast of Rogaland during the Second World War were never found.

One was a Triton-class submarine, the other was Odin-class.


No, more moons after the first sighting, they have caught the underwater robot ÆGIR 6000. With a 4K camera and the ability to dive down to 6000,<> meters, researchers hope to find answers to what vessels they have actually found.


Covered by the darkness of night, the ship arrives at the town where the wreck lies.


It is 03:07 at night when the ROV is lowered into the sea.


In the control room, tense operators and ocean managers, ready for a mission they will miss late.


Etter eit drygt kvarter er dei nede på botnen. Dei finn raskt fram.

– Vi har ein ubåt i trynet, seier ROV-piloten.

Dybdemålaren viser 165 meter.


Ei begeistra stillheit legg seg over rommet. Med vidopne auge stirrar dei på dei grøne skjermane, i full konsentrasjon.


No skal dei leite etter kjennemerker for å sjå om dei passar til ein av dei to britiske ubåtane som gjekk ned utanfor Karmøy, men som aldri blei funne.

Første prioritet er å finne tårnet. 

Andre er å telle luftventilane som er på sida av ubåten. 

– Det blir litt mystisk og dunkel stemning, når ein veit at dette er ei stor krigsgrav der eit titalls sjømenn gjekk ned, seier Kyrre

Den 84 meter lange ubåten ligg i fleire delar nede på botnen.

Midtdelen, tårnet på ubåten, manglar.


They leiter, but in vain. The tower is gone.

Wildlife teems on the bot. Fiskane stuck out of the submarine, much to their excitement.

Korleis det ser ut inni, får vi ikkje vite. Av respekt for vraket og personane som omkom, er det dårleg skikk å røre ubåten.

Det trengs heller ikkje for å løyse oppdraget. Ved å telle luftventilane på vraket, får dei tydelege svar. 

– Vi fann det vi var ute etter. Vi er temmeleg sikre på at dette er HMS Thistle, seier Kyrre

10. april 1940
Det er under eitt døgn sidan tyskarane invaderte Noreg.
Den britiske ubåten HMS Thistle er ein av tre ubåtar som patruljerer langs norskekysten utanfor Karmøy.

Om bord er 53 menn, i alderen 20-40 år. 

Det er berre nokre timar sidan dei observerte den tyske ubåten U-4. Dei fyrte av seks torpedoar, men ingen traff.

Med to torpedoar igjen, går dei opp til overflata, slik dei må for å lade batteria på ubåten.

Since, no one from that.

Later it turned out that the German submarine had responded to the attack.

At 02.13 in the morning on 10 April, they made HMS Thistle the first British submarine to be sunk by the Germans.

53 British submariners lost their lives. The submarine was never found.

“It must be HMS Thistle. It can’t be nobody annan, says local historian and author Atle Skarsten.

He has been involved in writing a number of books about the Second World War in Rogaland. No sit he a few nautical miles away and be anxious about what the ocean explorers find.

“The other submarines in the area are of a different type or are further south,” he explains.

The history enthusiast thinks the find is huge.

“I thought it was fantastic to have the submarine placed. This is very special, both for history enthusiasts and for the descendants who learn more about what has happened.

The first part of the cruise has been completed.

HMS Thistle has been identified and G.O. Sars will continue to more traditional assignments.

There is no doubt that the mission has aroused the enthusiasm of crews, marine biologists such as sailors.

“I guess you can say I’ve got a new hobby,” said marine biologist Josefina Johansson.

Ho has spent the last few months reading up on submarines.

Samstundes squirms a great deal of seriousness about the situation.

“There are colleagues lying there. They were at sea dei and, too long ago. It’s kind of special,” said Even Rong, a netman aboard the G.O. Sars.

He has been following the dive with excitement, and hopes the assignment will help ensure that relatives will get long-awaited answers.

“There are probably people in England who wonder about the kven lying down there and what it looks like. I’m sure it’s enough to wonder what happened to your grandfather.                          The Royal Navy has been handed over the video footage and conducted an investigation.

They state to TV 2 that it is a T-class submarine from group 1 that is the find.

They assume it is HMS Thistle, as there are no other known submarine wrecks in the area of this type.

Yet they cannot say that it is Thistle, without the hallmark of the so-called tower.

“Regardless of that, this is the last thing for the crew on board to die. We ask that the vessel be left undisturbed,” a spokesperson from the Royal Navy wrote in an email to TV 2.

The Havforskars are fairly confident in their case.       “We are confident that this is HMS Thistle,” Kyrre said.

Josefina hopes the bereaved can have a concrete place to think about when they minnast those who were on board.

“I hope people can have peace when we know what has happened after all these years.

The researchers do not want us to give the exact whereabouts of the wreck, out of respect for the wreck and those who perished.

From no of the recnar they this to be a war grave.