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Synopsis

a fascinating book, in which every reader will find something she/he never knew' – Scots Magazine 'an interesting insight into life in a naval base during two world wars' – Broadly Boats Scapa Flow, one of the greatest naval bases in history, resonates through the annals of the Royal Navy during the two great wars of the twentieth century. It was from there that the Grand Fleet sailed to Jutland in 1916; from there that Russian convoys set off; and it was in that beautiful, bleak anchorage that the German High Seas fleet committed the greatest act of suicide ever seen at sea - 'The Grand Scuttle' - before being raised and scrapped in one of the most astonishing examples of maritime salvage. It was also in Scapa that we have our last photographs of Kitchener before he boarded the Hampshire, sunk by mine off Marwick Head. But it was also in this great anchorage that many more human stories took place. Here lie the wrecks - now war graves - of the Vanguard, blown apart by an explosion in 1917 and the Royal Oak, sunk by Gunther Prien of U-47 in a spectacular raid at the beginning of World War Two. Here too Italian prisoners of war built both the spectacular Churchill causeways and the exquisite Italian chapel at Lamb Holm crafted from Nissan huts. The text weaves eyewitness accounts and personal experience into the larger narrative, and the photographs capture the spirit and activity of Scapa Flow when it was the home of thousands of service personnel.

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