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Last Updated: Monday, 1 September, 2003, 06:50 GMT 07:50 UK
War grave plan for sunken U-boats
German U-boat
Eight U-boats disappeared off Yorkshire between 1917 and 1918
Two German U-boats missing for 86 years which were found by divers off the North Yorkshire coast may be declared war graves.

The bodies of 58 submariners who went down with the vessels, which disappeared during missions to sink British ships during World War I in 1917, are thought to be inside the boats.

The submarines remained lost until the summer of 2002 when divers Andrew Jackson and Carl Racey discovered the wrecks.

Now the BBC's Inside Out programme has learnt the German government is taking steps to have the sites declared as official war graves.

Eight German U-boats disappeared off the North Yorkshire coast between 1917 and 1918, and until last summer only six had been found.

Andrew Jackson and Carl Racey
The divers discovered the wrecks within two days
But the divers, both World War I enthusiasts, found UB41 and UB75 within two days of beginning their search.

The wrecks are submerged in more than 60 metres of water off Robin Hood's Bay.

Mr Racey told BBC Inside Out: "During World War I the North Sea was more like the Atlantic was to World War II, a hunting ground for U-boats.

"The early submariners of World War I were true pioneers of submarine warfare, especially on this scale."

Mr Jackson added: "These vessels were hard mistresses to the crew and officers alike, often referred to as 'iron coffins' or 'sisters of sorrow'."

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