The French Did It
The string of theories explaining the sinking of Henry VIII's flagship Mary Rose on 19 July 1545 has grown by one. According to a new academic study, she was sunk by a French cannonball and buried by political spin.
The generally accepted theory was that a combination of wind and tide heeled the warship during a 16th-century battle in the Solent. This pushed her lee-side gun ports below water level to flood and capsize the ship with the loss of more than 400 lives. Now, a University of Portsmouth geographer believes the truth was withheld to maintain the navy's image.
According to Dr. Dominic Fontana: "The Mary Rose was holed by French gunfire received from an advance party of fast, oar-powered galleys which were heavily armed. She would have quickly taken quite a quantity of water into her hull before she maneuvered to bring a broadside of guns to bear on the attacking French galleys." The maneuver caused the unrestrained movement of the water below decks to capsize the flagship.