Scapa Flow Visitor Centre shows the long history of Scapa Flow, the second largest natural harbour in the world (behind Sydney) and in more recent history the home of the British naval fleet in WW1 and WW2. It is also the location where the German naval fleet was held at the end of WW1 and then destroyed by its own commander when he thought the armistice would not hold. My main focus during the visit was to discover more about HMS Royal Oak, which was subject to various exhibits.
What the museum conveyed to me was the sense of hundreds of lives horrifically snuffed out in a few minutes and the sense of loss and despair that followed. It surely must have had a profound effect on my grandfather to have survived the tragedy and lost many young friends. It is perhaps understandable that he didn’t wish to bring his memories to the surface by talking to his grandchildren about them years later.
I kept visual notes of these on my iPhone, shown below. I addition there were a number of items photographed using my camera, which will feature in the contact sheets for the trip. Image 5, I found particularly poignant – a buoy floating on Scapa Flow is the only visible evidence of the 19,000 tonne ship and those who perished on her.
Scapa Flow visitor centre [website]. Available from: http://www.hoyorkney.com/attractions/hoy-history/the-scapa-flow-visitor-centre-museum/ [accessed 26.5.17]