Sparta SS was built for the Bennett Steam Ship Company in 1900 for Taylor & Mitchel Ship Company, the 708 ton steamer had a length 185ft x 29ft beam x 12ft draft & was powered by her Triple Expansion Engine 82hp.
The wreck of the SS Sparta is 20 nautical miles from Sovereign Harbour Eastbourne and rests right on the edge of the West bound shipping lane in a group of 4 wrecks, 3 are known and 1 is still unidentified. So close to the lanes they are you can hear the engines of other merchant vessels as they head down channel.
On the 10th March 1941 whilst in convoy this British armed steamer SS Sparta was enroute from Blyth to Southampton with a cargo of Coal when she struck a mine and sunk 10miles to the South West off Dungeness. Nine of her crew were lost. The other 2 Steamships that were sunk that day were the CORINIA SS, & the WATERLAND SS, all sunk due to the minefield.
Today the Sparta sits upright on an even keel in 40mtrs of water and stands a maximum of 8mtrs high, this superb wreck is very easy to navigate due to being so intact. Going from the stern with rudder and prop in situ you go up onto the deck & right on the stern is a deck gun pedestal with the gun barrel laying on the deck and pointing over the back.
As you make your way forward along the deck there are cabins and access areas to look into with easy access into the bridge area with lots of points of interest. In front of the bridge you have the forward hold and I guess this is where she struck the mine as all the sides have collapsed to the seabed then as you move forwards towards the bow the sides of the ship come back up and you have a nice run up towards the bow with winches and storage area.
The SS Sparta was positively identified by the recovery of the ships bell which was resting in amongst the winch gear up on the Bows,