The Tanks - Studland Bay
Studland Bay Tank 1 - Mk IX
This is most complete of the tanks with the turret still attached. The tracks on the port side have fallen off along with the engine louvres (on the seabed to the rear of the tank), the top armour to the rear of the turret and the various hatches.
Between 2010 and 2011 the gun was broken off and more recently the top of the turret has also been broken off this recent damage is thought to have been caused by boats mooring directly to the tank, therefore to prevent any further damage it is planned to put it a perminant mooring away from the hull
The lack of a co-ax machine gun shows that is this is a Mark IX DD
Studland Bay Tank 2 - MkIX T82546DD
Tank 2 is connected via a rope to Tank 1 forming a miniature dive trail, the main hull complete but the engine louvres, hatches and top armour have gone.
As with all the tanks the prop and bow have disappeared.
The turret is said to have been ripped off by a trawler and is laying upside down but complete to the port side of the tank.
Studland Bay Tank 3 - MkXI
Tank 3 has been blown, however the side, front and rear armour is intact, this is probably due to the Mk XI stronger welded hull.
The turret has broken into its component pieces with the bustle in front of the tank and turret ring to the port side. The mantle laying just beyond the turret ring still has the BESA machine gun and QF 75mm intact.
Studland Bay Tank 4 - Mk XI
Tank 4 was blown with only the side and rear armour along with the drive sprockets remaining in situ, the front of the tank has completely gone and various parts of the running gear lie scattered around the tank. The mantlet with its coax machine gun mounting is off to the port side of the tank, the main gun is missing making it difficult to determine the mark of the tank The bustle and part of the turret ring were located 50m to the south west of the main hull.
Studland Bay Tank 5 - Unknown Mark
This tank been blown with the loss of all the top armour and the majority of the running gear.
The turret has been completely destroyed leaving its various elements scatters around the tank.
The mantlet, laying off to the port side just beyond the partial turret ring, is missing the area where the coax mg casting should be present making it impossible to determine the mark of the tank
Studland Bay Tank 6 - MkXI
Like the other tanks ‘’made safe’‘ by the navy Tank 6 has lost all of its top armour. The area around the tank is relatively clear of debris with the exception of the complete turret ring forward of the wreck and an engine louvres to one side. The mantlet is located a few metres away off the port bow and is complete with its BESA MG and 75mm Gun
Interestingly the running gear of this tank is was located 30 metres away to the south west. Given the area contains both side of the running gear and the turret ring is complete and in-situ it is unlikely that the tank was trawled, one suggestion is that Tank 6 is the vessel mentioned by Major Stirling that was sunk by naval gunfire.
Studland Bay Tank 7 - Mk XI
The seventh tank is an enigma, the contemporary sources specifically mention six tanks lost with six men, with only the war diary of the Westminster Dragoons mentioning a seventh tank.
The most commonly quoted source for the seventh tank comes form Major Stirling who states that:
"One tank, which was abandoned by its crew when it had sunk dangerously low, refused to complete the sinking. It floated off on the tide, and had to be sunk by gunfire..."
However he previously stresses that only 6 tanks were lost suggesting that he may be referring to one of the 6 tanks on Hook Sand. The distance, over 5km to the East also shows an issue, tidal information provided by the UKHO, shows that the tide did not start to fall until 1300h did not start going north until 1600h. This would mean that the tank would have had to have been adrift for over 12 hours to reach boscombe.
The tank has lost its turret and top armour but the rear transmission appears to be intact. The mantlet and bustle lay forward of the wreck whereas one of the turret sides lays within the hull and the other half 10m to the stern
Other tanks on the seabed
One tank has been located in Bracklesham Bay, This would have been part of the training area used by B Wing based out of Stokes Bay, there is the potential for three other Valentines in the Area
At least six Valentines have been recorded as being lost in the Moray Firth, two are dived regularly dived in Burghead Bay and seem to be in excellent condition, 3d models can been seen on Brian Burnett's Sketchfab. Three others are charted and the 6th has not been found.