On 9th March 1916 the armed boarding steamer HMS Fauvette was steaming towards the Thames Estuary when she struck two mines in quick sucession off North Foreland 51.27.55 N 02.56.42 E. The ship went down in four minutes, drowning two officers and twelve naval ratings, with the Commander and remaining members of the crew managing to board the port side lifeboats to safety. The wreck remained pointing North and upright on the seabed until after the First World War when it was blown up as it was classed as a maritime shipping hazard with the demolition of the wreck leaving a field of debris on the seabed.
Over the years, Trawler men eventually become aware of this wreck site and charted it as un fishable rough ground, like most sites that cannot be fished and the area soon become a dumping ground for debris trawled up in the nets from other areas. Eventually the rough ground transformed into an artificial reef becoming a safe haven for marine life.
In 1982 I was working on a fishing boat that was working trammel nets close to the edge of this rough ground. The idea was to leave the nets overnight and haul them in the morning, on one night in July 1982 we left one fleet of nets overnight to haul in the morning. However, during the night the wind had picked up and on arrival in the morning the nets had drifted into the wreck site and became fast. It was a disaster with the nets tearing as we hauled, like most steel wrecks the crabs we were catching were brown through rust and they were huge, we even caught a 8 1/2 lb lobster , plenty of tope well over 30lb and a 13lb Bass. As the nets were coming over the hauler, debris from the wreck was coming up with the catch, with things like deck light covers , rusty pieces of metal and pieces of brass. At one point the hauler slowed down and the boat started to list and when it broke free we could feel something in the nets. When that part of the nets reached the surface there was this huge copper pipe about 4 inches diameter about twenty foot long with a bronze flange on the end.
When we finished the haul the deck was like a mini maritime museum of various fittings laid out on the deck . Unfortunately the owner of the boat had no interest in maritime history and all the items later ended up in Sam Read's scrapyard in Margate.