Tributes have been paid to the 835 sailors who lost their lives during the sinking of the HMS Royal Oak in the Second World War.
The ship was anchored at Scapa Flow in Orkney when it was torpedoed by a German submarine on October 14 1939.
Considered to be one of Britain’s most controversial naval tragedies, the attack claimed the lives of 835 men and boys.
Royal Navy clearance divers travel to Orkney every year to take part in the memorial events for those who died aboard the HMS Royal Oak.
They take on the solemn task of descending to the wreck to change the White Ensign.
This year, diver Charlie Hopper took on the duty for the first time.
The 25-year-old said: “I was honoured to be part of the team that carried out the Ensign change on HMS Royal Oak this year.
“It is the first time I have dived on the wreck and it was a wonderful and poignant opportunity to pay our respects to the 835 lost servicemen. It was a privilege and a dive I will always remember.”
‘A simple and fitting tribute’
Members of the Northern Diving Group joined relatives and friends to pay tribute and lay wreaths at a memorial service in the Garden of Remembrance.
Brigadier Andy Muddiman, naval regional commander for Scotland and Northern Ireland explained the annual commemoration for the sinking of HMS Royal Oak is an event “close to the hearts of many Orcadians”.
He commented: “It is through community efforts and those of the Royal Oak Association, which runs commemorations elsewhere in the UK, that the memory of those sailors who perished and of survivors alike, is maintained. The Royal Navy is very grateful for this collective remembrance effort and we are proud to be invited to take part.”
“I would also like to praise the efforts of the Kirkwall Branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland who have ensured that the event remains as it always has, a simple and fitting tribute to the fallen. It is they who have ensured that October 14 never passes without acknowledging the sacrifices made on behalf of us all.”