Wartime Artefacts on Show at Orkney Museum

A small selection of the wonderful artefacts normally on display at the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre (Lyness Museum),Hoy, can be seen at Orkney Museum, Kirkwall. The Scapa Flow Museum is undergoing a major refurbishment and is closed for the time being.

Lyness 2

Inside the pumping station/visitor centre closed now for refurbishment

On show on Orkney Museum’s first floor are a selection of new acquisitions to the wartime collections. including:

  •  a dog collar from HMS Hampshire
  • an ink drawing of Tankerness House and St Magnus Cathedral from 1918 by a sailor serving in Scapa Flow
  • a tray and soft toy, examples of handiwork produced in classes promoted by the Central Advisory Council for Education in HM Forces. 

You can also see the plans for the refurbishment of the museum at Lyness, Hoy.

Some items on display have been in the museum’s collection for a long time, while others have only been acquired recently and are shown for the first time.

One recent acquisition is a framed photograph of a junior rating (name unknown) from HMS Hampshire, who died when the ship struck a mine off Marwick Head on 5th June 1916.

Items belonging to Ernest Stanley Cubiss (and his wife, Florence) who died with the sinking of HMS Opal on 12th January 1918 are also featured.

HMS Opal lifebelt.

Credited to Orkney Islands Council Photo by Kenny Armet .

A life belt from HMS Opal is also displayed, as well as fragments of metal from both HMS Opal and HMS Narborough . The metal items have been cast up on rocks in Windwick Bay after winter storms, collected and donated to the museum by Willie Budge. There are also pieces of lead-covered wiring and light metal parts found in cormorants’ nests near where the ships were lost.

The sinking of HMS Royal Oak in 1939 is marked, but so is a chapter of her earlier career, through a photograph album documenting her years with the Mediterranean Fleet from 1927 to 1929.

Other objects include a miniature oar made by a German sailor from the High Seas Fleet, a World War II German coffee pot, and everyday items from life in Orkney during World War II.

Related Stories:

We Will Remember Them

Discovering the Last Resting Place of HMS Pheasant (1917)

Remembering the 737 Men Lost on HMS Hampshire

Video of Opal/Narborough Commemoration in Orkney

Lest we Forget, 100 years on

William Sissons: A People’s Hero

A Remarkable Find in a Cormorant’s Nest


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