Resurgam, by Reverend G.W.Garret 

Resurgam, latin: "I shall rise again" is the name given to two early Victorian submarines designed and built by a Manchester clergyman called Reverend George William Garrett as a weapon to penetrate the chain netting placed around ship hulls to defend against attack by torpedo vessels.

Resurgam I
 The first Resurgam, built in 1878, was a 14 ft (5 m), hand powered, one-man vessel nick-named “the curate`s egg” due to its shape. Its small size and one-man crew meant it would have been ineffective as a weapon.
Resurgam II
The second Resurgam was built by Cohran & Co. at Birkenhead, England, and launched on November 26, 1879. Her construction was of iron plates fastened to iron frames, with the central section of the vessel clad with wood secured by iron straps and as built, she was 45 feet (14 m) long by 10 feet (3.0 m) in diameter, weighed 30 tons, and had a crew of 3. She was powered by a closed cycle steam engine originally patented in 1872 by the American engineer Eugene Lamm which provided enough steam to turn the single propeller for up to 4 hours. She was designed to have positive buoyancy, and diving was controlled by a pair of hydroplanes amidships.

After successful trials in the East Float at Wallasey, it was planned that Resurgam should make her way under her own power from Birkenhead to Portsmouth for a demonstration to the Royal Navy.
However, during the voyage mechanical problems caused the crew to dock at Rhyl for repairs. Once completed, the crew set sail at night in a high wind, towed by the steam yacht Elphin, which Garrett had bought to act as a tender. The Elphin developed engine problems and the Resurgam`s crew transferred to her to assist. Because the entry hatch on the Resurgam could not be fastened from outside, water started to rush in, the submarine gain weight and the towrope broke, the Resurgam sank in Liverpool Bay off Rhyl on February 25, 1880.

Discovery of wreck
For many years the exact location of Resurgam was a mystery until in 1995 it was found by an experienced wreck diver, Keith Hurley, while attempting to clear snagged fishing nets in 18 m of water. The site of the wreck covers an area 270 m in radius at 53° 23.78` N., 03° 33.18` W.

The Resurgam`s hull is intact although partially damaged and it is at risk from illegal diving and trawling. After her discovery, the conning tower steering wheel was broken and portable items have gone missing. The vessel is believed to be the oldest surviving submersible.

Back to Hisroty Index

Image Country Year Description
Comoros 2008 Resurgam 1878- Victorian submarine (George Garrett, Great Britain)
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