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Coastal Assessment Survey of Burray, Flotta, Graemsay, Hoy and South Ronaldsay: wrecks

Date August 1997

Event ID 882511

Category Recording

Type Desk Based Assessment


Throughout the two World Wars Scapa Flow served as the base of the British Home Fleet. Access to these waters was guarded by a series of coastal batteries, booms and blockships. The blockships comprised old and damaged vessels which were deliberately sunk in position so as to form a submarine obstacle to deter enemy incursions. After 1945 some of the blockships were dispersed by explosives to clear the shipping lanes while many others were salvaged for parts and metal. The wrecks of several blockships remain on the sea bed and in the intertidal zone.

(i) [HY20SW 8002] The Gobernador Bories, a 2,332 ton iron steamer, was built in 1882 at West Hartlepool. She was sunk in Burra Sound in 1915. She lies S of Hoy Skerries and is relatively intact.

(ii) [HY20SW 8001] The Ronda was built in 1889 in Sunderland and was sunk in 1914. She was a steel single-screw 1,941 ton steamer. She was dispersed with explosives in 1962.

(iii) [HY20NW 8005] Built in Glasgow in 1882, the 2,252 steel single-screw steamer, Budrie, was sunk in 1915. She was dispersed with explosives in 1962.

(iv) [HY20NW 8003] The Rotherfield was a 2,831 ton steel single-screw steamer. Built in West Hartlepool in 1889, she was sunk in Burra Sound in 1914. She was dispersed with explosives in 1962.

(v) [HY20NW 8004] A 3,423 ton steel single-screw steamer, the Urmstone Grange, was built in Belfast in 1894 and was sunk in 1914. She was dispersed with explosives in 1962.

(vi) [HY20NW 8003] Built in 1938 in Germany, the 8,900 ton tanker Inverlane was holed by a mine off South Shields in 1939. She was patched up, towed to Burra Sound and, there, sunk as a blockship in 1944. She remains relatively intact and her bows are clearly visible, rising from the waters to the S of Hoy Skerries.

(vii) [HY20NW 8006] The Tarbraka was a single-screw steamer of 2,624 tons. Built in Rotterdam in 1909, she was captured by the Royal Navy in 1940 and was sunk as a blockship, initially in Kirk Sound. At the completion of Churchill Barrier 1, the Tarbraka was re-floated and sunk in Burra Sound in 1944. She now lies, upside down, in 12m of water to the S of Hoy Skerries.

(viii) [HY20SW 8001] The 1,761 ton single-screw steamer the Doyle, built in Troon in 1907, was sunk in 1940. She lies relatively intact beneath 15m of water.

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