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On 11 October 1982, the flagship of Henry VIII's navy, the Mary Rose, was raised from the seabed for the first time in 437 years. 

Having lain at the bottom of the Solent since 19 July 1545, the warship was re-floated and is now preserved at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth. 

During her naval career, she served successfully for 33 years in wars against France, Scotland and Brittany, thanks to her compliment of over 90 guns and her ability to fire a broadside, one of the earliest ships to do so.

The day of her sinking has caused much speculation over the centuries. While sailing to engage the French Navy, contemporary accounts put her sinking down to a handling error while turning to present the guns to the enemy.

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Laden with ordnance, she sat low in the water and when the swift turn was made, the open gun ports dipped below the water line and the ship began taking on water, causing her demise.

Modern theories generally agree with this explanation, but suggest the modifications made over the years added additional weight, especially a substantial rebuild in 1536, caused the ship main deck gun ports to sit less than a metre above the water.

Other theories claim insubordination by the crew, an outbreak of dysentery rendering them unable to properly man the ship, or French galleys hitting the Mary Rose low on the hull, destabilising her.

Since her discovery at the bottom of the Solent in 1971 and refloating nine years later, more than 10,000 items, including clothing and weapons, have been recovered and preserved.

The operation to lift the remains of the ship from the seabed cost £4 million and involved a complex floating cradle. Twice postponed due to poor weather, on the day of the lift further technical problems caused part of the lifting frame to snap and collapse onto the hull, although only slight damage was said to have been inflicted.

 

 

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