Accessibility

Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

Hms Vanguard: Scapa Flow, Orkney

Battleship (20th Century)

Site Name Hms Vanguard: Scapa Flow, Orkney

Classification Battleship (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Flotta; Fara; Weddel Sound; Hms Vanguard

Canmore ID 103004

Site Number ND39NE 8045

NGR ND 36212 97158

Datum WGS84 - Lat/Long

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/103004

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
© Copyright and database right 2017.

Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

ND39NE 8045 3621 9716

N58 51.45 W3 6.35

NLO: Flotta [name: ND 37 94]

Fara [name: ND 329 959]

Calf of Flotta [name: ND 382 967]

Stromness [name: HY 253 090]

Weddel Sound [name centred ND 335 944]

Scapa Flow [name centred HY 36 00].

Formerly entered as Site no. 8954.

For associated cemetery (centred ND 30229 94612) and memorial, see ND39SW 53.

For comparable loss of HMS Natal (in Cromarty Firth, 31 December 1915), see NH76NE 8001.

Quality of fix = EDM

Evidence = Echo sounder

Horizontal Datum = OGB

Buoyage =

General water depth = 30

Orientation of keel/wreck = 160/340

Circumstances of Loss Details

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

The battleship HMS VANGUARD sank after internal explosions, while anchored 1 mile NNE of Flotta.

Source: Distionary of Disasters at Sea, Dive Scapa Flow. 'They called it an accident' by A. Cecil Hampshire [chapter 9] gives a graphic account of the sinking.

Surveying Details

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

26 January 1956. The wreck consists of debris scattered over a wide area.

Report by Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet.

The wreck was originally charted from the Notice to Mariners 2198/21.

28 June 1961. Nundy Marine Metals are reported to be still working on the wreck. Although a great deal has been recovered it has not been entirely demolished, but due to the depth of water it certainly constitutes no danger to shipping.

Report by Kinck & Richardson, solicitors.

5 September 1961. The salvage contract has been extended to 1 May 1963.

Report by Naval Constracts Secretariat.

28 September 1970. Salvage is to take place at intervals during the next five years.

Report by Nundy Marine Metals.

21 March 1974. The centre point of the wreck is 58 51 26N, 003 06 20W, and it extends about 120 metres north by west and south by east. The least depth near the southern end is 18.8 metres, and on the northern end 25.6 metres. There is a foul area extending approx 305 metres east by north, 914 metres west by south, and 305 metres south from the centre point.

12 September 1975. A detailed investigation by the Command Clearance Diving Team confirms that the wreck was blown apart by the original explosion which destroyed virtually all the explosive ordnance on board. The stern section of the wreck is largely undamaged and contains the after 18 inch torpedo room, which contains presumably torpedo warheads. A light scattering of loose cordite sticks lying on the seabed are no threat and can be left in situ. One approximately 12 inch shell is to be removed from wreckage for disposal between 15-19 September 1975. The torpedo warheads in the stern section pose a potential threat to Occidental pipeline, and it is considered unwise to disturb them in view of probable deterioration. The Ministry of Defence has warned the salvage company & Occidental of the probable presence of the warheads in the stern section located at 58 51 26N, 003 06 12W, and the danger of salvage operations in that vicinity.

Report taken from a signal from FOSNI to the MOD Navy, Queen's Harbour Master Rosyth, and the Commander in Chief of the fleet.

21 October 1977. The salvage rights for period ending 31 December 1982 have been sold to Scapa Flow Salvage Ltd.

Report by Departmentof Naval Contracts 15 July 1977.

5 May 1981. A depth of 14.9 metres is reported over the wreck at 58 51 27.7N, 003 06 20.05W.

Report taken from Orkney Islands Council, Notice to Mariners 1099/81 issued.

16 September 1981. The least depth within the main area of wreckage shown is reported as 14.2 metres at 58 51 27N, 003 06 21W.

Report by Racal-Decca Survey Ltd, June 1981

22 March 1984. A buoy now carries a notice indicating the wreck is a war grave.

Hydrographic Office, 1995.

(Classified as battleship: date of loss cited as 9 July 1917). HMS Vanguard: this vessel was destroyed by a huge internal explosion while moored 1 mile NNE of Flotta.

Registration: London. Built 1909. 189250 tons displacement. Length: 147m. Beam: 27m.

(Location of loss cited as N58 51.45 W3 6.33).

I G Whittaker 1998.

Material reported under RoW amnesty (2001):

A3033 1 'screwed cap and handle': from seabed

A4261 3 'parts of range finder': from seabed.

NMRS, MS/829/35.

(Proposed for designation as a Controlled Site under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986). The battleship HMS Vanguard served with the Grand Fleet during World War I, until her destruction. On 9 July 1917, while at anchor in Scapa Flow, she blew up with the loss of all but three of her complement of 670.

No cause of the explosion was ascertained.

Information from MOD (Military Maritime Graves consultation) per Mr I Oxley (Historic Scotland), 7 February 2002.

This wreck has been designated a Controlled Site under the Protection of Military Remains ACT (PMRA), 1986.

(Comprehensive list of Controlled Sites in article).

Source: Stuart Bryan in Nautical Archaeology, 2001.3, p. 12.

NMRS, MS/2745.

Length: 536 ft (163.4m)

Beam: 84 ft (25.6m)

Draught: 27ft 11ins (8.5m)

Displacement: 19,250-22,900 tons (also cited as 19,560t standard, 20,030t full load)

Propulsion: 18 Yarrow boilers (coal with supplementary oil feed: 250 psi wp); two sets Parsons turbines direct to four shafts, 4 screws; 24,500 nominal hp; 21-22 kts

Fuel: 2800 tons coal; 940 tons oil; 190 tons patent fuel

Range: 7000 miles at 10 kts

Guns: 10x12 ins (305mm); 18x4 ins (102mm): the latter later altered to 12x4 ins and 2x3 ins (76mm) AA

Torpedo tubes: 3 (later 2) x 18 ins (457mm)

Armour: belt 10 ins (254mm); turrets and conning tower 11 ins (279mm); deck 3ins (76mm)

Complement: 800/850

This Dreadnought battleship of the St Vincent class was built by Vickers at Barrow, who also constructed the engines. She was completed in February 1910 as the 7th of the name. She served in the 1st Battle Squadron in 1914 and (with the older ships of the Grand Fleet) in the 4th Battle Squadron at the Battle of Jutland. She was destroyed by the internal explosion of unstable cordite on 9 July 1917. The bodies recovered lie in Lyness Cemetery (ND39SW 53), where there is a memorial.

The Court of Inquiry attributed the loss to the internal explosion of faulty cordite probably in P or Q magazine (just abaft the foremast). The possibility of 'hot pockets' developing within the magazines was noted and the necessity for the revision of procedures noted. This loss may also be understood in conjunction with that of HMS Natal (NH76NE 8001) from similar causes through explosion in Cromarty Firth on 30 December 1915.

The salvage history of the ship is unknown beyond the details noted by the HO (above).

The wreck lies in the SW part of the main body of the Flow, to the S of the Barrel of Butter [name: HY 352 009] and to the W of Calf of Flotta [name: ND 383 967]. It is charted as a wreck in 14.2m depth of water and within the installation area of the loading buoys for the Flotta oil terminal (ND39NE 8). No seabed type is indicated on the available chart.

[For deck plan, armour arrangement and detail differences within class, see [Jane] 2001).

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 15 October 2002, 14 November 2002 and 30 December 2002.

A C Hampshire 161; H M Le Fleming 1961; G Bennett 1983; P L Smith 1989; R Macdonald 1998; [Jane] 2001; M Brown and P Meehan 2002.

HO Chart no. 2162 (1979, revised 1997).

p. 25, fig. 17 high resolution swathe bathymetry (colour)

(unpaginated annexe) oral testimony by Mr F Lilleker regarding salvage operations (in 1958-9) on the wreck of HMS Vanguard

Salvage operations were carried out in 1958-9 by Arthur Nundy (Nundy Marine Metals) using standard dress and (later) SCUBA, initially from the diving vessel (converted steam drifter) Ocean Raleigh. A former boom defence vessel (the Barneath) was later obtained.

The wreck had been dispersed by explosion, many large and heavy fittings (notably gun barrels and turrets) being blown a considerable distance away and, in some cases, driven vertically into the seabed. The propeller shafts were 'bent' and the side [belt] armour 'gaped out like a peeled orange'. Human bones and leather items were noted in the coal/oil sludge.

Objects recovered were mainly non-ferrous, and included Weir Pumps, condensers, torpedo 'ramps' or 'bars', and at least one propeller. Armour plate and the guns of the main armament were lifted; coal was recovered in considerable quantities using a bucket grab.

NMRS, MS/829/63

Plans and photographs of this vessel are held in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

(For online catalogue of negatives, see www.nmm.ac.uk/historicphotographs).

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

Listed as Designated controlled site under PMRA 1986.

(Area within 200m distance around N58 51.400 W3 6.405).

MS/5253.

Activities

Reference (1995)

Quality of fix = EDM

Evidence = Echo sounder

Horizontal Datum = OGB

Buoyage =

General water depth = 30

Orientation of keel/wreck = 160/340

Circumstances of Loss Details

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

The battleship HMS VANGUARD sank after internal explosions, while anchored 1 mile NNE of Flotta.

Source: Distionary of Disasters at Sea, Dive Scapa Flow. 'They called it an accident' by A. Cecil Hampshire [chapter 9] gives a graphic account of the sinking.

Surveying Details

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

26 January 1956. The wreck consists of debris scattered over a wide area.

Report by Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet.

The wreck was originally charted from the Notice to Mariners 2198/21.

28 June 1961. Nundy Marine Metals are reported to be still working on the wreck. Although a great deal has been recovered it has not been entirely demolished, but due to the depth of water it certainly constitutes no danger to shipping.

Report by Kinck & Richardson, solicitors.

5 September 1961. The salvage contract has been extended to 1 May 1963.

Report by Naval Constracts Secretariat.

28 September 1970. Salvage is to take place at intervals during the next five years.

Report by Nundy Marine Metals.

21 March 1974. The centre point of the wreck is 58 51 26N, 003 06 20W, and it extends about 120 metres north by west and south by east. The least depth near the southern end is 18.8 metres, and on the northern end 25.6 metres. There is a foul area extending approx 305 metres east by north, 914 metres west by south, and 305 metres south from the centre point.

12 September 1975. A detailed investigation by the Command Clearance Diving Team confirms that the wreck was blown apart by the original explosion which destroyed virtually all the explosive ordnance on board. The stern section of the wreck is largely undamaged and contains the after 18 inch torpedo room, which contains presumably torpedo warheads. A light scattering of loose cordite sticks lying on the seabed are no threat and can be left in situ. One approximately 12 inch shell is to be removed from wreckage for disposal between 15-19 September 1975. The torpedo warheads in the stern section pose a potential threat to Occidental pipeline, and it is considered unwise to disturb them in view of probable deterioration. The Ministry of Defence has warned the salvage company & Occidental of the probable presence of the warheads in the stern section located at 58 51 26N, 003 06 12W, and the danger of salvage operations in that vicinity.

Report taken from a signal from FOSNI to the MOD Navy, Queen's Harbour Master Rosyth, and the Commander in Chief of the fleet.

21 October 1977. The salvage rights for period ending 31 December 1982 have been sold to Scapa Flow Salvage Ltd.

Report by Departmentof Naval Contracts 15 July 1977.

5 May 1981. A depth of 14.9 metres is reported over the wreck at 58 51 27.7N, 003 06 20.05W.

Report taken from Orkney Islands Council, Notice to Mariners 1099/81 issued.

16 September 1981. The least depth within the main area of wreckage shown is reported as 14.2 metres at 58 51 27N, 003 06 21W.

Report by Racal-Decca Survey Ltd, June 1981

22 March 1984. A buoy now carries a notice indicating the wreck is a war grave.

Hydrographic Office, 1995.

Reference (1998)

(Classified as battleship: date of loss cited as 9 July 1917). HMS Vanguard: this vessel was destroyed by a huge internal explosion while moored 1 mile NNE of Flotta.

Registration: London. Built 1909. 189250 tons displacement. Length: 147m. Beam: 27m.

(Location of loss cited as N58 51.45 W3 6.33).

I G Whittaker 1998.

Reference (7 November 2003)

Plans and photographs of this vessel are held in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

(For online catalogue of negatives, see www.nmm.ac.uk/historicphotographs).

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

Reference (2008)

Listed as Designated controlled site under PMRA 1986.

(Area within 200m distance around N58 51.400 W3 6.405).

MS/5253.

Reference (2011)

Whittaker ID : 79

Name : HMS VANGUARD

Latitude : 585127

Longitude : 30620

Date Built : 1909

Registration : LONDON

Type : BATTLESHIP

Tonnage : 19250

Tonnage Code : D

Length : 147

Beam : 27

Draught : 8m

Loss Day : 9

Loss Month : 7

Loss Year : 1917

Comment : Destroyed by a huge internal explosion whilst anchored 1 mile NNE of Flotta

Reference (19 April 2012)

UKHO Identifier : 001030

Feature Class : Wreck

Wreck Category : Dangerous wreck

State : LIVE

Status : Historic

Classification : Unclassified

Position (Lat/long) : 58.85750,-3.10583

Horizontal Datum : ORDNANCE SURVEY OF GREAT BRITAIN (1936)

WGS84 Position (Lat/long) : 58.85708,-3.10742

WGS84 Origin : 3-D Cartesian Shift (BW)

Position Method : Electronic Distance Measuring System

Position Quality : Precisely known

Depth : 14.2

Depth Method : Found by echo-sounder

Depth Quality : Least depth known

Water Depth : 30

Water Level Effect : Always under water/submerged

Vertical Datum : Lowest Astronomical Tide

Name : HMS VANGUARD

Type : BATTLESHIP

Flag : BRITISH

Length : 171.6

Beam : 25.6

Draught : 8.2

Orientation : 160.0

Tonnage : 19250

Tonnage Type : Displacement

Date Sunk : 09/07/1917

Contact Description : Entire wreck

Original Sensor : Reported Sinking

Last Sensor : Diver Sighting

Original Detection Year : 1917

Last Detection Year : 1975

Original Source : Other

Last Source : Divers

Markers : E CARD, VQ(3)5S, 200MTRS E.

Circumstances of Loss : **BUILT IN 1909 BY VICKERS. A DREADNOUGHT BATTLESHIP. BABCOCK BOILERS, TURBINE ENGINES OF 24500IHP FOR 22 KNOTS. TEN 12 INCH, EIGHTEEN 4 INCH AND FOUR 3 PDR GUNS. THREE TORPEDO TUBES. SANK AFTER INTERNAL EXPLOSIONS WHILE ANCHORED 1M NNE OF FLOTTA. LOSS CONSIDERED TO BE CAUSED BY DETERIORATION OF STOCKS OF HIGH EXPLOSIVES. OF COMPLEMENT OF 670, 3 WERE SAVED OF WHOM ONE DIED LATER.

Artefact Recovery

Material reported under RoW amnesty (2001):

A3033 1 'screwed cap and handle': from seabed

A4261 3 'parts of range finder': from seabed.

NMRS, MS/829/35.

References

MyCanmore Image Contributions


Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions