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WW1 Orkney Double Naval Disaster Commemorated

Discussion in 'Military History' started by The_Historian, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Stirling, Scotland
    A lucky man indeed.
    "Men and boys who died when two destroyers on night patrol off Orkney during World War One ran aground in blizzard conditions have been commemorated.
    There were 189 on board HMS Opal and HMS Narborough as they set out to hunt German warships suspected of laying mines on the Scottish coast.
    Just one man - William Sissons - survived.
    It took two days for him to be rescued from the sea ledge where he sheltered.
    Scapa Flow, a protected bay in the archipelago, was the base for the British Navy's Grand Fleet in World War One.
    On 12 January 1918, Opal joined its sister ship Narborough and the light cruiser Boadicea in looking for German ships and submarines laying mines.
    During the evening, weather conditions worsened and the warships were ordered to return to Scapa Flow.
    However, as a blizzard set in and with visibility near zero, they ran on to rocks off the east coast of South Ronaldsay.
    As the ships broke and were swallowed by the sea many of the crew were trapped and others were swept away.
    Most of the bodies were never found but 55 crew were later buried at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Royal Naval Cemetery at Lyness on the island of Hoy.
    In a chance discovery, the gold engagement ring of one of the sailors who died was found on the seabed 89 years after the ships ran aground."

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