The Royal Australian Navy are to present Orkney with a picture of HMAS Australia leading the surrendered German fleet into Scapa Flow in 1918. This visit forms part of the Royal Australian Navy centenary year events.
Visitors from RAN include renowned Naval historian and Director of RAN’s Strategic and Historical Studies, Dr David Stevens, who has been commissioned to write a history of the RAN in the UK, and Commander Henri Nord-Thomson. Also visiting is retired Royal Navy Commander David Hobbs.
Councillor Eoin Scott will formally accept the gift to the Orkney public at a ceremony and public lecture by the three visitors on the connections between the history of the Australian Navy, Scapa Flow and Orkney in general, in the St Magnus Centre on Tuesday October 4 at 7.30pm.
Speaking ahead of the visit, Councillor Scott said: “Scapa Flow was at the heart of the allied war effort in WWI and II, and many nations played a vital role, including the Australians. The HMAS Sydney’s rescue boats were first to reach the stricken HMS Vanguard on 17 July 1917 following a massive internal explosion killing all but two on board, and HMAS Australia led one of two columns of allied ships surrounding the surrendered German High Sea Fleet into Scapa Flow on 21 November 1918.
“We are pleased to host this important visit which will help serve the memory of those who have served and died here in Orkney and stimulate interest in our rich wartime history.”
The group will be arriving in Orkney on the Pentalina, sailing into Scapa Flow past Hoxa and Stanger Head, affording a good first view of Scapa Flow. The trip will include a visit to The Royal Oak and Vanguard, on which two Australian sailors died, and the laying of a wreath at Lyness Cemetery.
Royal Australian Navy – Find out more about their 2011 Centenary celebrations.
HMS Royal Oak – 70th Anniversary article
Blockade Ship – Download your own desktop wallpaper blockade ship