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HMS Edinburgh was sunk by a German U-boat in 1942. The town-class light cruiser was travelling with 58 of her crew and 465 gold bars intended as payment from the USSR to America for war equipment when disaster struck. The vessel laid undetected 200 miles off Murmansk, 800 feet below the surface of the Barents Sea for almost four decades.

Historian Dr Michelle Blagg detailed in her book ‘HMS Edinburgh and her cargo of gold’ how the tragic event unfolded.

She wrote: “On April 30, 1942, Edinburgh received two torpedoes from U456, the first hit her starboard, the second to her stern wrecking steering equipment and crippling her. 

"With only two small minesweepers for protection, an attempt was made to return to port. 

"A Russian tug, sent to help, located her on the May 1 and having secured a wire, started to tow Edinburgh back to Murmansk. 

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“Slow progress was made but the next day, she came under attack again from three German destroyers and had no option but to drop her tow. 

The ship was sunk during World War 2The ship was sunk during World War 2 (Image: GETTY)

HMS Edinburgh was transporting an expensive cargoHMS Edinburgh was transporting an expensive cargo (Image: GETTY)

“It soon became clear as damage control reports reached the bridge, that the ship was open from side to side with sea washing straight through. 

"The signal to ‘abandon ship’ was given and minesweepers went alongside to take off the wounded, passengers and the crew. “

According to reports, the ship's captain later remarked “I shall never understand why [the Germans] didn’t come in and finish us off. I think they had acknowledged defeat after being so heavily shot at."

But that decision would allow for a remarkable find years later.

In 1981, a salvage team successfully located the wreck and 431 of the bars.

READ MORE: Egypt’s ‘floating' pyramid exposed after pharaoh’s ‘4,000-year-old secret decoded’

dinburgh with the cruisers Hermione, and Euryalus on convoy duty during Operation Halberddinburgh with the cruisers Hermione, and Euryalus on convoy duty during Operation Halberd (Image: GETTY)

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Working around-the-clock, the team recovered the gold

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