The volunteer crew of RNLI Stromness lifeboat attended a service in Scapa Flow today to mark the 80th anniversary of the loss of HMS Royal Oak
On October 14th 1939 a German submarine, U-47, evaded defences to enter Scapa Flow and fire torpedoes at HMS
Royal Oak lying at anchor in Scapa Bay. 835 men and boys were killed, many under 18 and some as young as 15 years of age.
Royal Navy minesweeper, HMS Bangor, carried the principal wreath-laying party which included members of the Royal Oak Association.
John Davidson, Stromness lifeboat mechanic and representing the British Legion, scattered poppy petals on the water, close to the buoy marking the final resting place of HMS Royal Oak.
As well as Stromness lifeboat, Violet Dorothy and Kathleen, a small flotilla of vessels brought several hundred people, including many family members of the lost sailors. Lighthouse support vessel
Pharos was in attendance, as were two Orkney pilot boats, several dive charter boats and
Flotta Lass from Flotta oil terminal close by.
On a flat calm sea, under a clear, blue, sunny sky it was difficult to imagine the horrors of 80 years ago.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.
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