Cultural differences sunk the Mary Rose

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The Mary Rose, pride of Henry VIII’s fleet, may have sunk because of poor communication between its English officers and foreign crew members, researchers said on Friday.

The sinking of the 16th century warship is one of the biggest puzzles of British naval history, with many theories put forward to explain its sudden loss during a battle with French invaders in July 1545.

One leading theory says it sank after it dipped its side low in the water during a tight turn, allowing water to flood in through unsecured gun ports.

Now researchers have come up with a new explanation for the failure to close the covers: there was a crucial delay between the order being given by English-speaking officers and it being understood by foreign crew members.

New forensic tests on the teeth of 18 crewmen suggest up to 60 percent of the crew may not have been British. They were more likely to have come from warmer parts of southern Europe.

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