By Nick Morrison
Thursday, 8th of July, saw a display of diving equipment set up by the Royal Navy’s Northern Diving Group outside the Cathedral.
The Northern Diving Group’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Mark Shaw has been diving on the War grave of the Royal Oak since 1982 which is when the ship’s bell was removed and is now in the Cathedral.
It takes a year to train a diver for this group. One of the crew here was the one who “Attended to” the torpedo that was fired at the Royal Oak and missed that was found a couple of years back. That had to be towed some distance away from the war grave before its controlled destruction.
The personnel were happy to answer questions from the public and were absolutely brilliant with the bairns, even to the extent of letting some of them have a wee go with their highly expensive radio controlled robot they use for land based operations like ordinance washed up on beaches for example.
Orkney Islands Council awarded the Freedom of Orkney to the Royal Navy Northern Diving group in May 2021, in recognition of their long association with commemorating those lost in the sinking of HMS Royal Oak and in keeping the local community safe through the safe disposal of modern and historic ordnance, including torpedoes and mines.