The Royal British Legion Scotland
Kirkwall Branch - Orkney Isles

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HMS Royal Oak 75th Anniversary Commemoration

On Tuesday 14th October 2014 a memorial service was held at the Scapa Garden of Remembrance to commemorate the sinking 75 years ago of the battleship HMS Royal Oak and deaths of 834 sailors. A strong Royal Navy presence, lead by Rear Admiral John Clink and Captain Chris Smith, included Lieutenant-Commander Mike Quinn and an honour party from the mine-hunter HMS Bangor, local sea cadets and RNA veterans. About fifty family members of Royal Oak sailors had travelled from as far away as Toronto to attend the service, introduced by Agnes Millar and conducted by RNA Chaplain David Dawson. It included the tunes Highland Cathedral by piper Laurence Tait, Last Post and Reveille by a Royal Marine Bugler. Lord Lieutenant Bill Spence, OIC Vice-Convener Jim Foubister and several councillors took part, along with representatives of Kirkwall and Stromness Royal British Legion Branches.

After the service the contingents proceeded to Scapa Pier, where the Talisman Sinopec launch Scapa Lass and OIC Harbours pilot boat John Rae embarked passengers to travel the short distance to the Royal Oak buoy above the sunken battleship. The Lord Lieutenant and Admiral Clink laid the first wreathes over the battleship wreck, followed by many more from those on the two launches. After the ceremony most of the participants returned to Kirkwall Royal British Legion Branch, for soup and sandwiches provided by the HMS Royal Oak Survivors' Association.