HAMPSHIRE divers are looking for help with solving a mysterious case of underwater scrabble.

Members of Eastleigh Sub Aqua Club have retrieved a ‘D’ and an ‘O’ from the name plate of a shipwreck which lies off the wsouth coast.

But they are still no nearer to making a positive identification on the stricken vessel nor establishing why it sank and what happened to the crew.

Now Andy Hermiston, a member of Eastleigh Sub Aqua Club, would like to hear from anyone who may be able to help the club’s ongoing research to shed light on the mystery letters, and what name they might have once spelt.

Andy led a club expedition to the site to carry out a detailed survey of the wreck 11 miles south of Chichester Harbour which they once thought could be the remains of HMT Lucknow, a WW1 minesweeper sunk on May 17, 1917.

He said: “HMT Lucknow sank very close to the position of the wreck we are trying to identify but once we took detailed measurements of our wreck we were pretty sure it was too big to be the Lucknow.

“However, once club diver Andrew Jackson along with his partner and buddy diver, Lucie Myall, came up with the letter D probably from the vessel’s nameplate, we knew it absolutely wasn’t the wreck of the HMT Lucknow.

“The mystery remains, what was the identity of our wreck and what happened to her crew?

“We want to hear from anyone who might be able to throw some light on the mystery and help us trace any descendants of the crew.

“If anyone can suggest a name for this ship and any clue as to what it was and any cargo it may have been carrying we’d love to hear from them.”

Marine consultant Andy said says members of Eastleigh Sub Aqua Club, a branch of the British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC), first dived on the wreck, which lies in about 30 metres of water, in 1995 when club members Bob Durant and Pete Attwood recovered a letter O.

Andy said: “This wreck is clearly old. It’s well broken up which means it is difficult to determine how or why it sank.

“It’s of riveted construction and has two boilers, a donkey boiler (a small boiler used for running services like winches and pumps whilst in port), but unfortunately we couldn’t see the main propulsion steam engine which we presume is hidden under collapsed plates.

“The iron four-bladed propeller is still attached to the shaft but several of its blades are damaged.

“Anchor and cargo winches are also there along with masts and hatch covers.”

He added: “We followed up the diving with some research into a brass plate that had been discovered on the wreck by other divers in 2000.

“The plate is inscribed ‘E.Donkin – Newcastle Upon Tyne’.

For more information on Eastleigh Sub Aqua Club, which meets at Fleming Park Leisure Centre on Tuesday evenings, please visit www.eastleighsubaquaclub.co.uk