Storaa 20th Century
During the two World Wars, tens of thousands of people were killed in merchant ships whilst carrying food and supplies to Britain for the Allied war effort against Nazi Germany. One of these, the SS Storaa, was sunk off Hastings on 3 November, 1943 whilst carrying supplies for the D-day landings. 21 men died in her.
Dr Peter Marsden, founder of the Shipwreck Museum, applied to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for the wreck of SS Storaa to be protected as a maritime war grave under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986, because the wreck was threatened by a gravel extraction scheme. This application was refused as the MOD claimed that she did not qualify, so, with six others, including an NMT trustee who was a barrister, the matter was taken to judicial review in the High Court in London, and the case was won. The MOD was unhappy with this decision because of the administrative burden, and appealed before three senior judges, including the Master of the Rolls, but lost again. The consequence is that the wreck is now protected by the government. This was a landmark case, showing that most sunken merchant ships in which people died in both World Wars are eligible for protection.