News from Orkney Islands Council
A programme of events has been announced marking 100 years since the scuttling of the German High Seas fleet in Scapa Flow.
Led by the Orkney community as well as international contributors, the events will reveal the historical significance of the scuttling, mark its impact at the time, and highlight its legacy in Orkney today.
At the heart of the events are the centenary commemorations.
Saturday 4 May
An exhibition telling the story of what happened on that June day a century ago opens at the Orkney Museum, Kirkwall.
‘1919: The Scuttling of the German Fleet’ draws on unpublished documents and eyewitness accounts and takes a poignant look at the events leading up to and during the scuttling as well as beyond.
Friday 21st of June
The 15 German lives lost as a result of the internment and sinking of the vessels will be remembered.
All are welcome at the Service of Commemoration at the Royal Naval Cemetery at Lyness, Hoy, which begins at 1pm.
People planning to travel to Lyness by ferry are encouraged to go as foot passengers aboard the Hoy Head and advised to use the 8am or 11.45am sailings from Houton and the 2.25pm return sailing from Lyness. The cemetery is around a mile and a 20-minute walk from the ferry terminal.
Saturday 15 June to Thursday 27 June.
More events including exhibitions, talks by experts, performances by the German Navy and Royal Navy musicians, underwater imagery, a theatre piece, the screening of a 1986 documentary on the scuttling – and the chance to explore the seabed wrecks using the latest virtual reality technology.
Antony Mottershead, Arts Officer with Orkney Islands Council, said:
“All involved have created a full and imaginative programme. The varied events will provide many insights into the enormous impact the scuttling had on the Orkney community at the time and on those who witnessed the ships going down.
“This will be a fitting conclusion to five years of commemorations marking the outbreak of the First World War, the Battle of Jutland, the loss in local waters of four Royal Navy warships, and the Armistice that led to the internment of the German High Seas fleet in Scapa Flow.”
Local dive boat operator Emily Turton, a founder member of the Scapa 100 initiative, said:
“An important aim of the programme is to explore the lasting legacy left by the scuttling of the fleet.
“A new industry sprung up as pioneering techniques were developed to raise entire ships– and salvage valuable components from others as they lay on the seabed.
“The salvage years supported many local families and businesses, as does wreck diving today – with Scapa Flow renowned worldwide in the diving community.
“Breathtaking photographs, video footage and 3D imagery will be on display, bringing wreck exploration alive for divers and non-divers alike. We’ve worked in partnership with the University of Dundee and Newcastle University, with support from Historic Environment Scotland, and the results are spectacular.
“Bringing Scapa 100 together has been a tremendous community effort with everyone involved keen to share their knowledge and expertise to help us tell a remarkable story.”
Related story: UB116 Talk at Stromness Museum #Scapa100