In the year On October 11, 1982, Christopher Dobbs had a unique look at one of the most significant events in maritime history – the raising of the Mary Rose.
As millions watched on television, a marine archaeologist was at the bottom of the Solent as Henry VIII’s flag slowly passed by as Henry VIII’s flag went aloft for the first time in 437 years.
He is now retiring as head of interpretation at the Mary Rose Museum, marking the end of a 44-year association with the ruins.
A warship was sunk in 1545 while attacking a French invasion fleet.
About 500 soldiers and sailors are thought to have been lost when the ship went down.
In the year Mr Dobbs was among the first group of divers to rescue items after it was found 40ft (12m) below the sea floor in 1971.
“It was an amazing experience – on every dive we were experiencing something no one had ever seen before,” he said.
Mr. Dobbs beat the then Prince of Wales to rubble and the future King in He promoted the massive archeology and engineering project that was completed in 1982.
He recalled the “incredible buzz of joy and excitement” that day.
“I can’t really describe what it was like when it broke the surface – I was safely covered in water.
“It was nice and quiet, but when I saw the TV footage there were champagne corks popping and guns being fired from Southsea Castle.
“It was amazing to see the Mary Rose rise from the sea floor and move up, but it was only done by a combination of different teams.
“It was touch and go, but the great thing was to achieve it.”
The logs are then transported to an atmospheric dry dock where they are sprayed with cold water mist, then water soluble wax, before the air drying process begins.
Telling the story of the “Tudor Time Capsule” with its artifacts, equipment and personal belongings of the aircraft has been Mr Dobb’s life’s work.
“It was a Portsmouth ship – it was built here and she sailed from here when she was alive. It was part of Portsmouth culture.
“While it is of international importance, it is also important as Portsmouth’s history,” he said.
Now housed in a £39m purpose-built museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, visitors can look out through floor-to-ceiling windows and walk onto an airlocked balcony.
Dr Alexandra Hildred, of the Mary Rose Trust, praised Mr Dobbs for his knowledge and handling of the heritage, saying it was “second to none”.
“All the volunteers – the ones at the museum and the 500 volunteer divers – say it’s the way he handled and taught them that gave them their knowledge of Mary Rose.
“His contribution to the displays in the museum is to be admired. What he put into the design of the museum made it more accessible and accessible.”
Mr Dobbs has worked with UNESCO and other international organizations on shipwreck preservation around the world, making regular underwater dives to check the condition of the wreck site.
One of the Mary Rose Museum’s latest innovations is a 4D simulation of wreck diving, narrated by Mr. Dobbs.
“I’ve been very fortunate – what better job can you imagine if you’re both an archaeologist and a diver than working on a project like the Mary Rose and sharing that with the wider world?”
1510 – The ship is commissioned by the newly crowned King Henry VIII and construction begins in Portsmouth. It started in 1511.
1545 – On July 19, at the Battle of the Solent, the ship was sunk while leading an attack on the French invasion fleet.
1549 – 1836 – After an unsuccessful attempt by expert Venetian salvos to raise the wreck, the ship lay undisturbed for almost 300 years.
1836 – Early pioneer divers, John and Charles Deane, discover the wreckage and use explosives to raise guns. Later you will lose the area.
1965 – A new search for the disaster begins.
1971 – Divers see the first exposed log and the site is known as Mary Rose.
In the year 1979 – 1982 – The contents of the ship were excavated by various people and more than 19,000 artifacts were brought to the surface.
1982 – The hull crash was lifted. The event will be watched live on television by an estimated 60 million people worldwide.
2013 – The £35m Mary Rose Museum opens in Portsmouth.
2016 – Museum visitors finally get an uninterrupted view of the ruins.