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Urmstone Grange: Burra Sound, Scapa Flow, Orkney

Steamship (20th Century)

Site Name Urmstone Grange: Burra Sound, Scapa Flow, Orkney

Classification Steamship (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Urmstone Grange; Urmston Grange

Canmore ID 102321

Site Number HY20NW 8004

NGR HY 24398 05198

Datum WGS84 - Lat/Long

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/102321

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2022.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Orkney Islands
  • Parish Maritime - Orkney
  • Former Region Orkney Islands Area
  • Former District Maritime
  • Former County Not Applicable

Archaeology Notes

HY20NW 8004 2439 0519

N58 55.6667 W3 18.8

NLO: Graemsay [name: HY 270 053]

Hoy Sound [name centred HY 236 072]

Stromness [name: HY 253 090]

Scapa Flow [name centred HY 36 00].

Formerly entered as HY20NW 8862.

For other wrecks in this group, see HY20NW 8001-3 and 8005-6, and HY20SW 8001-2.

For plan indicating the relative locations and orientations of blockships in this group, see Macdonald 1990, 108.

Quality of fix = HSA

Horizontal Datum = OGB

General water depth = 6

Circumstances of Loss Details

-----------------------------

The steamship URMSTONE GRANGE was sunk as a blockship.

Surveying Details

-----------------------------

6 April 1956. The blockship, URMSTONE GRANGE, is reported at 58 55 40N, 003 18 48w.

Source; aerial photographs.

13 April 1956. A request has been received to salvage the propeller from the URMSTONE GRANGE.

15 August 1962. The vessel was dispersed by explosives. It was completely scattered and spread over the seabed. There is a minimum depth of 2.7 metres over the highest point of wreckage. A further survey is recommended after the spring tide which may spread the wreckage further afield.

Report by Bomb and Mine Disposal Officer, Scottish Sommand, July 1962.

Hydrographic Office, 1995.

(Classified as steel steamship: no cargo specified, but date of loss cited as 22 September 1914). Urmston Grange: this vessel was sunk as a blockship in Burra Sound, and dispersed in 1962.

Registration: London. Built 1894. 3423grt. Length: 103m. Beam: 14m.

(Location of loss cited as N58 55.67 W3 18.63).

I G Whittaker 1998.

Length: 103m

Beam: 14m

GRT: 3423

This steamship was built in 1894 by an unrecorded yard and registered at London. A triple expansion engine of unrecorded size and three boilers drove a single screw. She was sunk as a blockship in 1914 and dispersed with explosives in 1962.

No details of the service or commercial history of the ship are apparently available and there is neither a published photograph nor any available description of the remains left in situ.

Burra Sound forms a narrow gap between Hoy Skerries (to the SW) and the island of Graemsay. Several wrecks are charted in a general depth of between 5 and 12m; the sound is subject to pronounced tidal flows.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 7 November 2002.

R and B Larn 1998; I G Whittaker 1998.

HO chart 35 (1991).

Length: 340 ft (103.7m): date of sinking 22 September 1914.

'Unballasted. Has not moved. In very good condition. Forecastle nearly submerged. Will last a long time.' (Report dated 28 June 1915 and accompanying panoramic sketch dated 8 December 1915).

The drawing (of Burra Sound, looking S towards Hoy from the Graemsay shore) depicts a three-island general cargo ship of form typical of the period, settling towards the port bow, with the forecastle still awash and still complete. The masts and funnel remain erect; the boats (on the poop) and rudder remain in place.

The accompanying map depicts this blockship as lying with bows towards the ESE and the stern very close to Hoy Skerries. It is thus the westernmost in the group.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 30 January 2004.

PRO [Kew] ADM116/2073A: dated 17 December 1919.

Activities

Desk Based Assessment (August 1997)

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.

Reference (2011)

Whittaker ID : 250

Name : URMSTON GRANGE

Latitude : 585540

Longitude : 31838

Date Built : 1894

Registration : LONDON

Type : SS (STEEL)

Tonnage : 3423

Tonnage Code : G

Length : 103

Beam : 14

Draught : 5m

Position : Exact Position

Loss Day : 22

Loss Month : 9

Loss Year : 1914

Comment : Scuttled in Burra Snd and later dispersed in 1962

Reference (19 April 2012)

UKHO Identifier : 001097

Feature Class : Wreck

Wreck Category : Distributed remains of wreck

State : DEAD

Classification : Unclassified

Position (Lat/long) : 58.92778,-3.31333

Horizontal Datum : ORDNANCE SURVEY OF GREAT BRITAIN (1936)

WGS84 Position (Lat/long) : 58.92735,-3.31489

WGS84 Origin : 3-D Cartesian Shift (BW)

Previous Position : 58.92778,-3.31055

Position Method : Horizontal sextant angle

Position Quality : Unreliable

Depth Quality : Depth unknown

Water Depth : 6

Vertical Datum : Lowest Astronomical Tide

Name : URMSTONE GRANGE

Type : SS

Flag : BRITISH

Length : 103.6

Tonnage : 3423

Tonnage Type : Gross

Date Sunk : 22/09/1914

Contact Description : Notable debris

Original Sensor : Reported Sinking

Last Sensor : None reported

Original Detection Year : 1914

Last Detection Year : 1962

Original Source : Other

Last Source : Naval Vessel

Circumstances of Loss : **SUNK AS A BLOCKSHIP.

Surveying Details : **H3875/26 FOUR DWPS SHOWN IN BURRA SOUND ON 2568, 2180. THE LEGEND 'CHANNEL BLOCKED BY WRECKS' APPEARS ON WRECK CHARTS.

**H1094/56 27.2.56 DOCKETS RE SALVAGE. TRACINGS SUPPLIED.

**6.4.56 BLOCKSHIP DETAILS SHOWN ON C 8009/1-9EB. URMSTONE GRANGE IN 585540N, 031848W. ALSO ON E5835/1-5 03, E5560/1-5 03.

**H2515/56 13.4.56 REQUEST TO SALVAGE PROPELLER FROM URMSTONE GRANGE. (DOCKET CP53213/56).

**H2515/56 11.12.56 FURTHER REQUEST RE WRECK IN BURRA SOUND. (CP63872/56).

**H2515/56 15.8.62 URMSTONE GRANGE DISPERSED BY EXPLOSIVES. WRECK COMPLETELY SCATTERED AND SPREAD OVER THE SEABED. MINIMUM DEPTH OF 9FT OVER HIGHEST POINT OF WRECKAGE. FURTHER SURVEY RECOMMENDED WHEN SPRING TIDE MAY HAVE FURTHER SPREAD WRECKAGE. (BOMB AND MINE DISPOSAL OFFICER, SCOTTISH COMMAND, JULY 1962).

**24.2.75 WK NO LONGER SHOWN ON CHARTS. DETAILS SHOWN ON COPY OF CHART 35 IN FOLIO 32 - ARCHIVES.

**3.4.97 POSITION FOR FILING ONLY.

POSITIONS BELOW THIS POINT ARE IN DEGREES, MINUTES AND DECIMALS OF A MINUTE

**5.11.10 NOT LOCATED BY M/B. (FATHOMS LTD, SCAPA SURVEY, POST SDC REPROCESSING). AMEND DEAD. NCA.

Charting Comments : POSN FOR FILING ONLY

Date Last Amended : 05/11/2010

Date Position Last Amended : 22/07/1988

Project (March 2012)

Excerpt from the report:

'SCAPA FLOW WRECK SURVEYS

Archaeological Interpretation of Multibeam data and Desk-Based Assessment

WA Ref: 83680.03

Summary:

WA Coastal and Marine was commissioned by Historic Scotland to provide highresolution multibeam bathymetry data targeted on a number of wreck sites in Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands. The list of targets were provided by Historic Scotland, ordered by priority, based on the importance of the wreck and the lack of prior survey at each site. Scapa Flow is a large natural harbour in the southern part of the Orkney Islands in

the North of Scotland, which served as Britain’s main naval base during WWI and WWII. Its waters hold Scotland’s highest concentrations of shipwrecks. Although some of the wrecks in Scapa Flow have previously been the subject of highresolution multibeam surveys there remain a number of important sites which had only previously been covered by low-resolution data acquisition or not covered at all.

WA Coastal & Marine conducted an archaeological assessment of the multibeam data and a Desk-Based Assessment (DBA) of the wreck sites it covered in order to enhance the historic environment record with respect to these sites and to support Historic Scotland’s work on the Scottish Marine Protected Areas Project. Through a thorough review of published and online material relating to the wrecks thought to be in the vicinity of Scapa Flow it has been possible to produce a detailed discussion of these sites in almost every case and also to clarify a number of conflicting sources. This has enabled us to state with certainty the exact location of

each targeted wreck from the multibeam survey, in some cases for the first time. In addition a thorough review of published material and diver accounts has enabled an informed analysis of features visible at each wreck site. The importance of these wreck sites can now be placed within their national and, in some cases, internationalcontexts.

A total of 18 wrecks were surveyed and assessed over the course this project. 16 of have been identified. The two remaining unidentified wrecks are both located in Burra Sound and are isolated pieces of wreck material, which may be associated with recorded losses in the area. The positions of all 16 identified wrecks have been improved, in some cases by over 100 metres. The survey has also greatly aided in understanding the relative positions of the wrecks to each other. The project has also highlighted discrepancies between some diver reports and observed details in the survey data, such as the structural details of some wrecks.'

Information also reported in Oasis (waherita1-136288) 18 June 2013

References

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