Divers honour HMS Royal Oak victims

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Naval divers have taken part in an act of Remembrance at the wreck of a battleship sunk in 1939 with the loss of more than 800 lives.

 

HMS Royal Oak was torpedoed by a German submarine in Orkney just six weeks into the Second World War.

The battleship capsized and sank in a matter of minutes, killing 833 sailors including more than 100 boys.

A team of Royal Navy divers returned to the wreck to replace its White Ensign in time for Remembrance Day.

Lead diver William Millar said: “It is a rare and great privilege to have the opportunity to dive on such a symbol of naval heritage.

“It is extremely moving to be able to take part in a small act of Remembrance to honour the great sacrifice that those before us made.”

The battleship was sunk on the night of October 14 1939 by the U-boat while anchored at the wartime home of the fleet, Scapa Flow.

Each year around Remembrance Day, a team from the Faslane-based Royal Navy northern diving group returns to Orkney to inspect the twisted, upturned hulk of the battleship and fix the Royal Navy’s standard as a mark of respect.

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