DIVERS working on a project to map the wreckage of top secret D-Day tanks sunk in Poole Bay have appealed for help.

The Valentine 75 Project was launched in Purbeck, last week, to find out more about the seven amphibious tanks sunk during Operation Smash – the Normandy landings rehearsal that took place off Studland almost three quarters of a century ago.

Project members are now anxious to hear from anyone who may have underwater images, taken in the 1970s and 80s, of any of the Second World War vehicles, which were known as Valentine tanks.

“Five of the tanks were blown up in the late 1980s by the Royal Navy and it would be great to see photos of them while they were still intact,” said project lead Nick Reed, of the Isle of Purbeck Sub Aqua Club (IPSAC).

Seven tank crew lost their lives during Operation Smash, which was watched by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, King George VI and General Dwight D. Eisenhower on April 18, 1944.

Seven of the tanks, which had been adapted with propellers and canvas skirts to make them amphibious, sank during the operation.

Today, the wreckage of two of them remain at the bottom of Poole Bay.

IPSAC has stared a two-year project to record, survey and research the history of all seven tanks and their crew. In 2019 the club will mark the 75th anniversary of Operation Smash.

Renowned underwater photographer Martin Davies, and British Sub Aqua Wreck Champion Alison Mayor – both members of the sub aqua club that located the Mary Rose – were guest speakers at the Valentine 75 Project launch.

Mr Reed said: “It was great to see such a great turnout at the start of our project.”There were divers from different clubs and organisations and the feeling at the end of the meeting was that it will be a fascinating project to get involved with.

“We’ve set up a special email for the project and if people would like to get in touch with us with pictures, stories and information, they can contact the project.”

Email valentine75@

ipsacdivers.co.uk if you can help.