Kitchener Memorial, Marwick Head

A long, narrow grass footpath wends it’s way to the imposing stone Kitchener memorial at the top of the Marwick Cliffs on the West Mainland.

Kitchener memorial

Kitchener memorial

The grand, square stone tower was erected by the people of Orkney after the First World War, to commemorate Lord Kitchener and the crew of HMS Hampshire, sunk on June 5th 1916, leaving only 12 survivors.  It is thought that the armed cruiser struck a mine laid by the German submarine U75,

Kitchener, the then British Minister of War was on his way to confer with the Czar’s government in Russia.

Some of the atefects were recently lifted by a salvage ship and after a great deal of dispute, ended up at the Lyness Museum.

A small gun, recovered from the wreckage is mounted at the start of the footpath below Marwick head.

Gun salvaged from HMS Hampshire

Gun salvaged from HMS Hampshire

The imposing stone memorial was unveiled by General Lord Horne in June 1926 with a salute by HMS Royal Sovereign.

The inscription on the plaque reads;

“This tower was raised by the people of Orkney in memory of Field Marshall Earl Kitchener of Khartoum on that corner of his country which he had served so faithfully nearest to the place where he died on duty.  He and his staff perished along with the officers and nearly all the men of HMS Hampshire on 5th June 1916.”

More information

Herbert Kitchener – 1st Earl Kitchener – Wikipedia

Military picture taken c1925 at the Kitchener memorial – Orkney Communities.

Lyness Interpretation Centre