STV and History channel documentary to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the sinking of the HMS Royal Oak at Scapa Flo Scotland. With harrowing eye witness accounts from survivors. Narrated by oor Alex Norton. We will remember them.
On 14 October 1939, Royal Oak was anchored at Scapa Flow in Orkney, Scotland, when she was torpedoed by the German submarine U-47. Of Royal Oak’s complement of 1,234 men and boys, 833 were killed that night or died later of their wounds. The loss of the old ship – the first of the five Royal Navy battleships and battlecruisers sunk in the Second World War – did little to affect the numerical superiority enjoyed by the British navy and its Allies, but the sinking had considerable effect on wartime morale.
The raid made an immediate celebrity and war hero out of the U-boat commander, Günther Prien, who became the first German submarine officer to be awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. Before the sinking of Royal Oak, the Royal Navy had considered the naval base at Scapa Flow impregnable to submarine attack, and U-47’s raid demonstrated that the German Navy was capable of bringing the war to British home waters. The shock resulted in rapid changes to dockland security and the construction of the Churchill Barriers around Scapa Flow.
Credit to : Eoin MacFreeman