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Scapa Flow and its wrecks - my article in another web site.


TK,

When you linked Scapa Flow and its Wrecks to Mac's Web Log, did you happen to look at the link on it to Recollections of 1940?  When I clicked on it, I was suprised to find it was my piece from  my journal that I sent the site owner of Scapa and its Wrecks back in 1999, before we moved to this address in December 99.

What a small world.

Of course I have repeated it in my article you have just published.  This base over two World Wars was the major Naval Base for the Royal Navy. Situated at the top of Scotland, it could command the exiting of German warships from their ports, seeking to break out thru the North Sea, which meant they had to run the gauntlet of the narrow Straits of Dover, or they could try and exit around the Scapa Base into the Greenland Sea, and then run into the North Atlantic and cover the sealanes to Canada and North America.

Strategically it was very well situated, it was essentially a secure base,  protected by outer and inner booms to the anchorage, and to the east by block ships between small islands and the shore.

As you will see in time, Gunter Prien was able to penetrate the flow in daring fashion when he sank the battleship Royal Oak in 1939.

But, the base was located in wild country, and the sailors were not enamoured with its position, far from any fleshpots.

I recall a bizarre happening when we were there, A Royal Navy sailor happened to come from the then flagship HMS Rodney, when ashore, had been caught having a very close relationship with a local sheep, and many a brawl started ashore by other sailors making  BAA noises at Rodney sailors. The Naval C in C aboard Rodney was forced to send a general signal indicating "When ship's boats are passing the Flagship, they will desist in making sheeplike noises."

The fleet thought the episode quite hilarious.

 

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