HMS Cattistock found more than ten mines and torpedoes from the Second World War during a search for unexploded wartime bombs as part of a NATO task group.
According to a press release:
“Norway was occupied by the Nazis between April 1940 and the war’s end, with the RAF making repeated attempts to disrupt shipping between Oslo and Germany – an operation codenamed ‘gardening vegetables’, with Oslofjord itself also given the cover name ‘onions’.
Twin-engine Hampden bombers, or four-engine Lancasters and Halifaxes dropped between one and two dozen mines at a time, just one or two seconds apart from a mere 600ft over the fjord. Around 1,500 British ‘A’ mines were sown in the fjord and its many inlets – some triggered by a ship’s magnetic field, others by the noise vessels made as they passed overhead.”
Leading Diver Karl Atkin said:
“The environmental conditions were incredibly challenging – water temperatures down to freezing, often causing the formation of ice, and air temperatures consistently well below freezing. So diving operations were unusually demanding. We often went down to 60 metres in zero visibility and had to identify the mines by touch.
The deep dives bring a heavy decompression penalty too – we had to conduct ‘stops’ at various depths on the way up. When we do, we’re motionless in the water column and get very cold very quickly! The cold also forced the ship to abandon the last two miles of hunting due to thick sea-ice closing the bay.”