Salvaged from the Cruel Sea

Ann Hills talks about the development of a Scapa flow centre to commemorate the use one of the greatest harbours from the Napoleonic Wars to the end of the Second World War.

Scapa Flow, Orkney's great harbour, was base for the Grand Fleet in the First World War and the Home Fleet in the Second. Now, thirty years after the Royal Navy finally pulled out leaving a legacy of historic sites, Orkney Islands Council is revaluing its twentieth-century history.

A Scapa Flow Centre is being created in the former naval pump- house at Lyness, the base on Hoy. This will tell the story of the naval anchorage from the Napoleonic Wars until victory in 1945. Lyness, dramatic but derelict, overlooks the Flow; trails will link Lyness with the Italian Chapel and Orkney Wireless Museum, the Churchill Barriers, sites of wrecks and, ashore, hut foundations, gun emplacements and control stations.

Orkney today has 19,000 inhabitants on a third of its sixty-seven islands: in wartime that number trebled, with the navy joined by army and airforce, facing the Germans across the North Sea in Norway.

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