New underwater photographs taken at Malin Head off the coast of Donegal in Ireland reveal the eerie images of sunken warships and liners from both World Wars.

Photographer and amateur diver Steve Jones, 43, from Aberdare, South Wales, captured the underwater shots showing wreckage from the First and Second World Wars resting undisturbed beneath the sea, the Daily Mail reports.

Sherman tanks lie 67 meters below the surface (Credit:Caters News Agency).
Sherman Tanks lie 67 meters below the surface.

One of the vessels, the SS Laurentic, on its way to America during the First World War, sunk with 43 tons of gold which was to used to pay for war supplies in the United States. Much of the gold has been recovered, but £6 million in gold bars has yet to be found and is thought to still remain on board.

Jones, who has nearly 30 years of diving experience, and his team had a look for the remaining 20 gold bars but could not find the treasure. 

“We only had about 30 minutes down at the deepest point of each dive, as there is a very real risk of getting the bends,” said Jones.

“Malin Head is one of the most special places I've ever dived. 

“The sailors that died on these ships during the two world wars made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the vital supply routes between the UK and USA remained open.”

The SS Laurentic (Credit: Caters News Agency).

The seas off the North Irish coast are known for being a mass graveyard for ships and submarines from both world wars.

Jones captured four wrecks during his dive: HMS Audacious, SS Justicia, SS Laurentic and Empire Heritage.

SS Justicia, one of the largest ships sunk during the World War I, was sailing from Belfast to New York when she was torpedoed by the German Type III Coastal U-boat UB-64 under the control of Otto von Schrader in July 1918.

A diver exams the wreck of SS Justicia, one of the largest ships sunk in the First World War (Credit: Caters News Agency).

The SS Empire Heritage, a steam tanker, was carrying a huge cargo of war materials, including Sherman Tanks, from New York to Liverpool when it was struck by a torpedo in 1944. More than a hundred crew members were killed.

The SS Empire Heritage lies 67m below the surface at Malin Head (Credit: Caters News Agency).

The HMS Audacious, a King George V-class battleship of the Royal Navy, was sunk by a German naval mine off the northern coast of Donegal on October 27, 1914. 

Wreckage from the First World War Super-Dreadnought class HMS Audacious (Credit: Caters News Agency).

“HMS Audacious was one of the most powerful warships the world had ever seen at the time. It was sunk by a mine during WW1 and lies in 65 metres of water. It was amazing to see it so up close,” said Jones.

“Another WW1 liner SS Laurentic was en route to the USA she struck 2 mines and sunk in 40m of water, killing over 350 of her crew.”

The sinking of the Laurentic in January 1917 sparked an urgent recovery of the gold stored on board.

“In her holds were 43 tons of gold ingots to pay for war supplies,” Jones told the Daily Mail.

“Recovery of the gold was top priority but to this day 20 bars remain unaccounted for, which are worth nearly £6 million.

“Due to the exposed location and depth, only divers trained in the use of mixed gas (use of helium mixed in with our breathing gas) can operate safely at these depths.

“Malin Head has become legendary among this community of ‘technical divers’ as having some of the best wrecks in the world. It is an amazing feeling to be able to photograph some of these amazing historical wrecks.”

A diver exams part of the SS Laurentic, which sunk during WWI with 43 tons of gold onboard.Caters News Agency