Latitude 50° 18.527 N
Longitude 004° 18.008 W
Depth 36m
Accuracy 5m
Object Type Binnacle

Brass, copper alloy

Description Compass binnacle
Markings None
Height 760mm
Width 730mm
Diameter 350mm
Weight Unknown
Condition Good
Completeness 100%
Number of items 1
Accassion Number RNSM 2004.63.1
Location Description RN Submarine Museum, Gosport

Binnacle (81A02)

The compass binnacle from HM submarine A7, lost off Plymouth in 1914.

The magnetic compass would not give accurate readings if it was inside the steel hull of the submarine so it was mounted in a watertight housing fixed on the casing aft of the conning tower. To read the compass the crew had a periscope that went through the hull into the bottom of the binnacle.

The submarine was discovered by Roger Webber in August 1981 and the binnacle was found lying next to the hull on the seabed on the starboard side. The binnacle was recovered and it was found to be in working order with the lightbulbs for illumination still intact. Unfortunately the recovery of the binnacle was not reported to the Receiver of Wreck and in 1999 the police found the compass binnacle in the possession Mr. Webber. Mr. Webber was given a caution and the binnacle was recovered then given to the Submarine Museum in Gosport.

The binnacle was recovered with its two soft iron correcting spheres that were used to correct for the effects of induced magnetisation of the hull, but in the museum they are no longer fitted.

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The binnacle from HMS/M A7 as it was recovered (Courtesy of C. Hollamby)

The binnacle now in the RN Submarine Museum, Gosport


Wreck - HMS/M A7

RN Submarine Museum web site -