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Hms Opal: Cletts Of Clura, Wind Wick, South Ronaldsay, North Sea

Destroyer (20th Century)

Site Name Hms Opal: Cletts Of Clura, Wind Wick, South Ronaldsay, North Sea

Classification Destroyer (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Clett Of Crura; Widwick; Linklater; Hesta Head; Hesta Rock; South Ronaldsay; Orkney; Hms Opal

Canmore ID 102343

Site Number ND48NE 8002

NGR ND 46221 87355

Datum WGS84 - Lat/Long

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/102343

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2018.

Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

ND48NE 8002 4620 8735

N58 46.25 W2 55.8

NLO: Hesta Rock [name: ND 465 877]

Clett or Crura [name: ND 462 874]

Windwick [name: ND 459 866]

Wind Wick [name centred ND 461 871]

Linklater [name: ND 457 871].

See also ND48NE 8001.

Horizontal Datum = OGB

General water depth = 8

Orientation of keel/wreck = NS

Circumstances of Loss Details

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

The M Class Destroyer HMS OPAL was wrecked in a violent gale and snow storm together with HMS NARBOROUGH.

Source: Ships of the Royal Navy.

Surveying Details

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

See HMS NARBOROUGH in the same position.

Hydrographic Office, 1995.

(Classified as destroyer: date of loss cited as 12 January 1918). HMS Opal: this vessel stranded in storm below cliffs about 80yds from HMS Narborough (ND48NE 8001).

Registration: London. Built 1915. 1000 tons displacement. Length: 84m Beam: 8m.

(Location of loss cited as N58 46.25 W2 55.8).

I G Whittaker 1998.

[No location of loss cited]. Together with HMS Narborough [ND48NE 8001], this vessel was lost while carrying out a Dark Night Patrol (DNP) in very poor weather against the threat of intrusion by fast surface minelayers, in this case in company with the light cruiser HMS Boadicea. HMS Opal was the senior ship of the two destroyers, her commanding officer being Lt Cdr C de M Malan RN, who was new to the area.

A survivor (AB William Sissons) reported that the vessel stranded at the foot of a cliff while trying to enter harbour in conditions of poor visibility. She struck three times very heavily before sliding into deeper water, Her hull broke at the break of the forecastle, while a wave pooped her aft, carrying away her mast and funnels and filling her aft. Carley floats were launched, but capsized, while the boats and davits were carried away.

The wrecks were of both ships were found to be submerged to the tops of their torpedo tubes, but everything above deck had been flattened. Bodies were seen in the wrecks, but it remains unclear whether or not they were recovered.

Both wrecks were sold for scrap in the 1930’s.

Source: PRO [Kew] File Adm. 137/3726].

K D McBride 1999.

Length: 271-6 ft (82.6 - 84.1m)

Beam: 26ft 9ins (8.2m)

Displacement: 994-1022 tons

Propulsion: steam turbines, three screws, 25,000 hp, 34 kts.

Guns: 3 x 4 ins (102mm); 1 x 2 pdr

Torpedo tubes: 2 x twin 21 in (533mm)

Complement: 80/98

This 'Admiralty' M-class destroyer was built at Sunderland by Doxford as part of the Emergency War Programme. She was completed in 1916 and wrecked off Scapa in 1918.

The cited location falls within a prominent bay on the E side of South Ronaldsay. There is a charted wreck (with masts only visible above chart datum) at N58 46.27 W2 55.8 (ND 4622 8739).

(Individual units within this class vary in dimensions, complement and displacement: the 'Admiralty' variant was distinguished by having three small round funnels).

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 16 December 2002.

H M Le Fleming 1961; [Jane] 2001.

HO chart no. 2581 (1982, revised to 1997).

Plans (but not photographs) of this vessel are held in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

Information from Ms G Fabri (NMM), 7 November 2003.

Activities

Field Visit (August 1997)

Two Royal Naval vessels, HMS Opal and HMS Narborough, both M class destroyers, were wrecked against the rocks in a snowstorm. Both vessels are said to have now broken up and they lie close under the cliffs. Nothing is visible above the water at this location.

Moore and Wilson, 1997

Coastal Zone Assessment Survey

Note (12 August 2011)

There is a memorial dedicated to HMS Narborough and HMS Opal overlooking Windwick Bay at ND 45734 86931.

Information from RCAHMS (LMcC) 12 August 2011

Reference (2011)

Whittaker ID : 286

Name : HMS OPAL

Latitude : 584615

Longitude : 25548

Date Built : 1915

Registration : LONDON

Type : DESTROYER

Tonnage : 1000

Tonnage Code : D

Length : 84

Beam : 8

Draught : 5m

Position : Exact Position

Loss Day : 12

Loss Month : 1

Loss Year : 1918

Comment : Stranded in storm below cliffs approx 80 yds from 'HMS NARBROUGH'

Reference (19 April 2012)

UKHO Identifier : 001231

Feature Class : Wreck

Wreck Category : Non-dangerous wreck

State : LIVE

Classification : Unclassified

Position (Lat/long) : 58.77083,-2.93000

Horizontal Datum : ORDNANCE SURVEY OF GREAT BRITAIN (1936)

WGS84 Position (Lat/long) : 58.77043,-2.93160

WGS84 Origin : 3-D Cartesian Shift (BW)

Position Quality : Precisely known

Depth Quality : Depth unknown

Water Depth : 8

Vertical Datum : Lowest Astronomical Tide

Name : HMS OPAL

Type : DESTROYER

Flag : BRITISH

Length : 84.1

Beam : 8.2

Orientation : 0.0

Tonnage : 1042

Tonnage Type : Displacement

Date Sunk : 12/01/1918

Contact Description : Notable debris

Original Sensor : Reported Sinking

Last Sensor : Diver Sighting

Original Detection Year : 1918

Last Detection Year : 1986

Original Source : Unknown

Last Source : Other

Circumstances of Loss : **AN M CLASS DESTROYER. BUILT IN 1915 BY W DOXFORD & CO. THREE BOILERS, S TURBINES OF 25000NHP, TWIN SHAFT. PASSAGE FROM EAST COAST WAR PATROL. WRECKED IN VIOLENT GALE AND SNOW STORM TOGETHER WITH HMS NARBOROUGH. ONLY ONE MAN SURVIVED FROM BOTH SHIPS.

Surveying Details : **POSN 584615N, 025548W. OPAL IN SAME POSN AT CLETT OF CLURA, WINDWICK. (AUTHORITY NOT STATED)

**H1939/26 24.3.26 WRECKS LYING CLOSE UNDER CLIFFS, HEADING IN NORTHERLY DIRECTION ABOUT 80YDS FROM EACH OTHER. NORTHERN VESSEL A MASS OF BROKEN IRON WORK ON LEDGE OF ROCK. SOUTHERN VESSEL LESS BROKEN & IN DEEPER WATER. NO MAST OR FUNNELS SHOWING & BOTH ALMOST ENTIRELY SUBMERGED AT HW. POSN 584615N, 025548W. (EXTRACT FROM N.L. 4432/18(X3003/18)). INS AS 2 DW (1918). BR STD.

**C.P. 26977/36 21.9.36 WRECKS NOW OWNED BY MESSRS SOUTHERLAND AND MAWAT.

**H5465/58 5.3.58 AMEND TO DW. NC 2162.

**H1310/86/20 7.8.86 NORTHERLY AREA OF WK SITE DIVED. MUCH SCATTERED WRECKAGE AND 3 INCH SHELL CASES, WELL BATTERED AND ERODED BY TIDAL ACTION, LITTER THE SEABED. NO DANGER TO NAVIGATION. GEN DEPTH 11MTRS - ROCKY BOTTOM SLOPING SEAWARDS. (B. WINFIELD, 26.7.86). AMEND TO NDW. BR STD.

Chart Symbol : NDW

Date Last Amended : 18/11/2003

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