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View of circular oil storage tank from East

D 3129

Description View of circular oil storage tank from East

Date 4/10/1996

Collection RCAHMS

Catalogue Number D 3129

Category Photographs and Off-line Digital Images

Copies SC 656633

Scope and Content World War I oil storage tank, World War I and II Naval Base, Lyness, Hoy, Orkney Islands At Lyness on Hoy, close to the sounds which made up the main fleet anchorage, naval quarters, stores and an oil depot were established during World War I and were considerably developed in World War II to become the Base Headquarters, HMS Proserpine. The base came to include an extensive area for the repair of anti-submarine boom nets, above-ground oil storage tanks and, beneath the nearby hill of Wee Fea, six very large underground fuel tanks. The solitary surviving above-ground tank at Lyness was one of four of 12,000-ton capacity built in 1917 when oil-fired warships were coming into regular service with the Royal Navy. In 1937-8, with another war looming, Messrs Balfour, Beatty & Co Ltd were contracted by the Admiralty to build 12 additional, slightly larger, 15,000-ton tanks, bringing the total complement of above-ground tanks to 16. The associated pumping station, which also dates from 1917, drew the heavy fuel oil from tankers at the pier. Originally coal-fired, the steam pumps were converted to diesel power in 1936, and pumping station and tank together now form the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre. This large steel-panelled oil storage tank is one of the original group of four to be built at Lyness in 1917 and is now the last of the 16 above-ground tanks which formed part of the naval oil terminal as extended in 1938. All the tanks, like this one, stood within earth-banked enclosures for blast-proof purposes. A modern external stair replaces an earlier vertical ladder and gauge mounted against the left sector of the tank, close to where there is an outlet pipe and tap connector. Inside, entered by the modern door created at the foot of the stair, the tank now contains a display of wartime equipment. The floor retains an array of steam-heated pipes which helped to liquefy the thick, tar-like consistency of the stored oil. At the heart of the Orkney archipelago, Scapa Flow was the main fleet anchorage for the Royal Navy during both World Wars. Its vital importance led to the creation of one of the most concentrated defence networks in Britain. Source: RCAHMS contribution to SCRAN.


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