A VETERAN salvage diver from Falmouth has cast doubt over the recent BBC report of a previously undiscovered First World War wreck being found in Falmouth bay.

In the report, local diver Mark Milburn claims to have found the wreck of the St Ives, a minesweeper which sank in the First World War, underneath the wreckage of the Caroni River, an oil tanker which sank in the Second World War.

Ken Matthews, who worked in salvage for 40 years, dived on the Caroni River in 1969 and says that the wreck of a smaller ship underneath the tanker could not be the St Ives as the hull is still in tact. He claims that the St Ives would have shown obvious signs of damage after colliding with a mine.

He said: "If this thing hit a bloody mine, why is all that bottom half in tact? Now you've put on TV that you've found the St Ives lying under the Caroni River. Those poor families could try find it and say 'we could go out this Sunday and put a wreath on this wreck,' and they're putting it on the wrong one. It's not the right one."

Mark Milburn admitted that the wreck was unlikely to be the St Ives in a blog post last year, in which he wrote: "...what is the trawler within the Caroni Rivers? It has to be the St Ives or the Tulip II. The St Ives blew to pieces, so it is unlikely to be that. That leaves the Tulip II as the only possibility."

Mark told the Packet that he has changed his mind since writing the post, saying he had seen documents from a German U-boat showing that a mine had been laid in the vicinity of the Caroni River's wreckage, and that he has yet to update the blog. He also says that it is possible the St Ives could have been sunk by a mine without the wreckage showing obvious signs of damage.

According to Ken, there is the wreck of another trawler with substantial damage to the hull a few miles away, which is more likely to be the St Ives. Mark disagrees and says that this other wreck is more likely to be the Tulip II, which reportedly sunk after colliding head on with another vessel.

Ken said: "The one they found is too small, the St Ives is meant to be well over 100 feet. The one I found is around 130 feet."

He disagrees with Mark's claim that a boiler found at the Caroni River wreck is evidence that the trawler beneath it is the St Ives. Ken says that the boiler is more likely to belong to the Caroni River.

Mark told the Packet that there is no evidence the boiler belonged to the Caroni River, and that it must belong to the St Ives.

He said: "There's always someone that wants to disagree, but I always do things that are evidence based."