|CLASSIC DIVE BOOKS
Wrecks of Scapa Flow
Please note: The books are listed for interest only, and not offered for sale.
|At Scapa Flow on 21 June
1919, there occurred an event unique in naval history. The German High
Seas Fleet, one of the most formidable ever built and prime cause of the
Great War, was deliberately. sent to the bottom of the British Grand Fleet's
principal anchorage at Orkney by its own officers and men. The Grand Scuttle
became a folk legend in both Germany and Britain. However, few people are
aware that Rear-Admiral Ludwig von Reuter became the only man in history
to sink his own navy because of a misleading report in a British newspaper;
that the Royal navy guessed his intention but could do nothing to thwart
it; that the sinking produced the last casualties and the last prisoners
of the war; and that fragments of the Kaiser's fleet are probably on the
moon. (From the blurb in The Grand Scuttle).
See also Salvage.
OF A FLEET
Paul Schubert and Langhorne Gibson.
The loss of the German Fleet at Scapa Flow.
TO JUNKYARDpjs soft only
The raising of the scuttled German High Seas Fleet from Scapa Flow - the greatest salvage operation of all time.
|SCAPA FLOW 1919.
First published in 1969 by Gerhard Stalling Verlag, Oldenburg and Hamburg.
English edition 1973 by Ian AllanLondon, 1973.
Hardcover, dustjacket, 175 pages, index, appendix.
It is interesting to read the drama of Scapa Flow from the German perspective. Chapters such as The Scuttling; The Consequences of the Scuttling; and The Fate of the Scuttled Ships add a new dimension to the English-authored texts.
From the fly: In November 1918 Germany surrendered and under the terms of the Armistice the High Seas Fleet was taken to Scapa Flow and interned. There on June 21, 1919, 11 capital ships, 13 cruisers and 50 torpedo boats were scuttled by their German crews. Why was the High Seas Fleet scuttled? The author, who served on torpedo boat B110 during the war, and was himself interned on board her in Scapa Flow, describes the events leading up to the scuttling of the Fleet. Following the Battle of Jutland in May 1916, Admiral Ruge gives a detailed account of the mutiny of the High Seas Fleet in 1918 and its surrender and internment. Life with the interned Fleet and the harsh conditions are vividly described and the secret discussions and orders leading to the scuttling are told in
detail. The narrative ends with the author's experiences in a POW camp, his repatriation to Germany, and the raising of the scuttled ships. Ten appendices give details of orders, decrees, reports and letters and there is a list of losses and details of source references. The book is illustrated with 17 photographs. [ps]
Dan van der Vat.
|THE MAN WHO
BOUGHT A NAVY
The Story of the World's Greatest Salvage Achievement at Scapa Flow.
Published in 1964 by George G. Harrap & Co, London.
Hardcover, dustjacket, 237 pages, mono photographs.
There are quite a few books on the scuttling of the German Flleeet at Scapa Flow during the final stages of World War 1, but few as intersting as this one which centres on the work of a most remarkable man, Ernest Frank Cox, who did indeed own a navy - even if it was at the bottom of the sea. Provides excellent descriptions of the raising of several vessels, some under the most difficult of situations. A most valuable book in all respects. [ps]
|THE LOSS OF THE BATTLESHIP
In the early hours of Saturday, 14th October, 1939, a few weeks after the outbreak of war, the Royal Navy suffered a stunning loss. The battle- ship Royal Oak, when lying inside the main base of the Home Fleet- Scapa Flow, in the Orkney islands, north of Scotland-was shaken by a number of explosions, occurring at intervals. She became a furnace internally, rolled over and, within about seven minutes of the last explosion, had gone to the bottom, with nearly 800 men trapped inside. Hundreds of others, some of them terribly burned, found themselves swimming in the icy, oil-covered sea, with small chance of immediate rescue-the night was dark and no one had seen or heard the explosions. Jubilantly the German propaganda services claimed the sinking of the Royal Oak and the damaging of the battlecruiser Repulse, and the Ger man public applauded Lieutenant Prien of U.47 as their first hero of the war, the man who had avenged the scuttling of the High Seas Fleet in Scapa Flow after the first world war. Millions of words poured from the world's presses describing the daring feat of arms in which Prien had pene- trated the defences of 'Impregnable Scapa', where every similar attempt during 1914-18 had been defeated. Meanwhile diving operations on the wreck were being carried out under conditions of strictest secrecy and the survivors were forbidden, under any circumstances, to talk to the press. As Alexander McKee began to interview large numbers of men who ha4 escaped from the Royal Oak he found that half of them still did not believe that she had been sunk by torpedoes; he found, too, that German accounts of the operation, including the captured log of U.47, bore hardly any relation to the real facts; and he decided in one way or another, to find out what really did happen that night in Scapa Flow. In the end he succeeded, and all previously published estimates of Prien must now be revised. The events are seen also for what they really were-as part of an intended "Pearl Harbour" for the Royal Navy. Drawing generously upon the wealth of information he has ac- quired Alexander McKee presents a vivid and unforgettable recapitula- tion of those few but fateful hours. As a dramatic documentary Black Saturday stands in a class of its own, deserving scrupulous appraisal. As a grippingly, readable, human story of ordinary men faced with the most frightful horror of naval warfare, it will burn itself into the memory of every reader.
(From the fly of 'Black Saturday').
I understand that the Royal Oak is classed as a war grave, and recreational diving is not allowed, except I presume by permission for specific reasons. I was recently advised that fuel oil is still seeping from the tanks. Royal Navy divers lay a Royal Ensign on the date of the anniversary of the sinking as part of the commemoration to her loss.
|BLACK SATURDAY - THE
DEATH OF THE ROYAL OAK
|I SANK THE ROYAL OAK
Gunther Prien. (Kapitän Leutnant Günther Prien)
The Grays Inn Press, LOndon. 1954 First English Edition.
Translated from the 1940 German original by Comte de la Vatine.
Hardcover, dustjacket?; 196 pages with one sketch map and twenty-three b/w photos, plus four pages with three b/w photos. Fp: Kapitän Leutnant Günther Prien.
AT SCAPA FLOW
The Truth About the Sinking of HMS Royal Oak.
|THE PHANTOM OF SCAPA FLOW|
The Saga of Admiral Collard and Bandmaster Barnacle.
Gerlad S. Snyder.
Presidio Press, USA: 1st US edition 1978.
Hard cover, dust wrapper; 240 pages, b&w photos.
German submarine U-47 slipped into Scapa Flow and managed to sink the battleship HMS Royal Oak, with the loss of 833 lives - one of the worst disasters of the Royal Navy. Drawing on recently accessible documents, both British and German, the author pieces together the full story whoch had been kept from the public by the British Official Secrets Act. Also draws on contemporary accounts, official reports, handwritten notes of most of the survivors and personal interviews of those involved.
OAK COURTS MARTIAL
William Blackwood & Sons London. 1965 First Edition. (Dust jacket far left, with sword).
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