Archives » War Memorials

Evie War Memorial

Evie is a small village close to the Broch of Gurness in the north of mainland Orkney.

This simple pillar stands to the side of the A 966 road from Evie to Birsay.

War Memorial, Evie, Orkney

The inscription reads, “In memoriam. Died for King and Country in the Great War 1914-1919.”

Inscription, War Memorial, Evie, Orkney

The names on the memorial all date from 1917 and 1918:-

Names, War Memorial, Evie, Orkney

More Names, War Memorial, Evie, Orkney,

Stromness War Memorial

A statue of a woman on a plinth, this stands on the outskirts of Stromness beside the main road to Kirkwall:-

Stromness War Memorial

Statue and Plinth. Dedication, “In memory of the gallant dead who gave their lives for honour and freedom in the European War 1914-1919.”:-

Statue and Plinth, Stromness War Memorial

View looking towards town:-

Stromness War Memorial Looking Towards Town

Names for 1915-17:-

Stromness War Memorial

Names for 1917-18:-

Stromness War Memorial, Names for 1917-18.

Additional plaque. After 1917:-

Stromness War Memorial, After 1917

Names for 1939-45. “To the glory of God and in memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice in the Second World War 1939-45.”:-

Stromness War Memorial, Names for 1939-45

Arctic Convoy Memorial, Lyness, Hoy, Orkney

Almost the first thing you notice making your way out of the ferry terminal at Lyness on Hoy, apart from the last remaining oil tank servicing what was the naval base there and the building housing the Lyness Naval Museum is two flags and two upright stone markers.

This is the Arctic Convoy Memorial. Some of the convoys’ ships sailed from Scapa Flow.

Memorial from road:-

Arctic Convoy Memorial, Lyness, Hoy, Orkney

Memorial Plaza:-

Arctic Convoy Memorial, Lyness, Hoy, Orkney Plaza

Memorial Dedication:-

Arctic Convoy Memorial Dedication

Russian Inscription and Flag. (I note that the flag, strictly, should be that of the USSR):-

Arctic Convoy Memorial, Russian Inscription and Flag

Russian inscription:-

Arctic Convoy Memorial Russian Inscription Close-up

British Inscription and Flag:-

Arctic Convoy Memorial British Inscription and Flag

British Inscription:-

Arctic Convoy Memorial British Inscription

War Graves, Mainland Orkney

The churchyard cemetery at St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, had a Commonwealth War Graves sign on it. There were two, both Seaforth Highlanders from the Great War.

Private J Brass, 30/10/1918, aged 18:-

Kirkwall War Grave

Private J McKay, 11/11/1918, aged 21:-

War Grave, Kirkwall

Similarly, in Stromness’s Warebeth Cemetery on the shores of Hoy Sound, W Parsons, Second Hand, RNR, HM Trawler Dale Castle, 8th December 1918:-

Stromness War Grave

And at Orphir, Lance Bombardier J W Bews, Royal Artillery, 26/3/1941, aged 20:-

Orphir War Grave

Also in Orphir cemetery was this dedication to James Oliver Flett, Airborne Division, who died on active service, 22/4/1944, aged 22:-

Grave at Orphir

HMS Royal Oak Memorial

On the night of 8th October, 1939, the German submarine U-47, under the command of G√ľnther Prien, penetrated the defences of Scapa Flow, Orkney, through Holm Sound and Kirk Sound. Her first two torpedo salvos missed all but an anchor chain but her third struck HMS Royal Oak. Within fifteen minutes the ship had sunk with the loss of 833 British sailors out of the crew of 1,234 men and boys. Many of their bodies were unrecoverable and remain on the ship. A few are interred at Lyness Naval Cemetery on Hoy.

For his feat Prien was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross, the first sailor of a U-boat and the second member of the Kriegsmarine to receive this decoration.

To prevent any further such attacks a series of barriers known as the Churchill barriers was built between four of the southern Orkney islands to connect them to each other and the mainland. The one shown below (picture from the Royal Oak’s Wikipedia page) crosses what was Kirk Sound.

Churchill Barrier across Kirk Sound

For decades afterwards the Royal Oak, a designated war grave on which diving is therefore prohibited, leaked oil into Scapa Flow before the leak was sealed off.

A memorial to HMS Royal Oak is set into the north wall of Kirkwall’s St Magnus Cathedral. There is a dedication plaque, a book of remembrance listing the names, with a page turned every day, surmounted by the ship’s bell.

Royal Oak Memorial

Further along the same wall lies another site of more general remembrance, a niche containing poppies and candles.

Remembrance niche, St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall

Kirkwall War Memorial

As seen from my previous post, Kirkwall’s War Memorial (also dedicated to the parish of St Ola) is located right beside St Magnus Cathedral – which is in the background the first, third and fourth photo here. The Memorial is in the form of an arch which acts as a gateway to the churchyard and cemetery behind. The original pillars are dedicated to the Great War. The external pillars were added to commemorate the Second World War.

Kirkwall War Memorial

Left hand pillars:-

Kirkwall War Memorial

Right hand pillars with wreath. St Magnus Cathedral in background:-

Kirkwall War Memorial

War Memorial Arch. “To the glory of God in memory of the men of Kirkwall and St Ola who fell for freedom in the Great War”:-

Kirkwall War Memorial Arch

St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney (i)

The first day we visited Kirkwall, Orkney’s biggest town, was quite rainy, which was why we chose to go there as we hoped to be able to nip in and out of shops as necessary.

St Magnus Cathedral, Britain’s most northerly, was built in memory of St Magnus and to hold his relics.

It dominates the skyline of Kirkwall and is impressive from close up:-

St Magnus Cathedral

This angle shows Kirkwall’s War Memorial arch to the left:-

St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney

Cathedral from churchyard behind:-

St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, from Churchyard

Cathedral side door:-

St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Side Door

The interior is also impressive, monumental but somehow on a human scale.

Ceiling and window behind altar:-

Ceiling, St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney

Stained glass window above main entrance:-

Stained Glass Window, St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney

Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, Hoy, Orkney (iii)

An unknown sailor of the Great War, HMS Narborough, 12/1/1918:-

A Sailor of the Great War

An unknown sailor from the Royal Oak, sunk by a German submarine, 14/10/1939:-

A Sailor of the 1939-1945 war.

There are civilian burials in the cemetery at Lyness. Whether these deaths were due to enemy action or not is not made clear on the gravestones.

A Merchant Navy Seaman, Ham Fat, fireman, SS Pass of Leny, 14/6/1943:-

Merchant Navy Seaman, Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery

T H Coleman, First Radio Officer, S S Vasna, 17/9/1941, aged 46:-

Merchant Navy Sailor

“A Parsee” and “A Musalman” Sailor:-

A Parsee and A Musalman Sailor

K Ullah, fireman and trimmer, K Ullah, SS Mostyn, 30/1/1941, aged 32:-

K Ullah

Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, Hoy, Orkney (ii)

Unusually for a Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, in Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, Hoy, Orkney, there are memorials other than the Cross of Sacrifice and the individual graves.

I posted about the HMS Vanguard Memorial on the anniversary of its sinking.

There is also a memorial to HMS Hampshire on which Lord Kitchener and many others died.

HMS Hampshire Memorial, Lyness War Cemetery

HMS Malaya went down in the Battle of Jutland:-

HMS Malaya Memorial, HMS Hampshire Memorial, Lyness War Cemetery

This cross commemorates Roman Catholics:-

Roman Catholic Memorial, Lyness War Cemetery

The following memorial is to “Henry Dixon Dixon-Wright, Chaplain to HMS Barham, died 1/6/1916 of wounds received in the Battle of Jutland and in memory of officers of HMS Barham who fell that day and lie at sea.” (I note the absence of “and men” in the dedication):-

HMS Barham Memorial, Lyness War Cemetery

Gravestone of Zu Sing Kang RFA (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) who died at Scapa Flow, 2/5/1916. “Erected in memory of a kind act done by a Chinaman in nursing a blinded working man afterwards Senator McGregor of the Australian Commonwealth”:-

Zu Sing Kang, Lyness War Cemetery

A Boy Telegraphist, C Rogerson, HMS Pembroke I, 5/1/1918:-

Boy Telegraphist, Lyness War Cemetery

A Boy 1st Class, J T Porter, HMS Malaya, 31/5/1916:-

Boy 1st Class, Lyness War Cemetery

German graves:-

German Graves, Lyness War Cemetery

Birsay War Memorial

From Marwick Head we travelled on up the west coast of mainland Orkney (though the road is not actually right by the sea) heading for Birsay which lies towards the northwestern tip.

Before we got there I spotted a War Memorial in what turned out to be Birsay Cemetery.

Birsay War Memorial

The inscription reads, “In memory of those natives of Birsay who died for us and truth in the nation’s service in the war 1914-19.”

The lower plaque towards the base reads, “Also those who died in the Second World War,” including Edith Carson, NAAFI.

Birsay War Memorial WW2 inscription

The other sides contain plaques for 1916:-

Birsay War Memorial (1916 names)

1917:-

Birsay War Memorial (1917 names)

and 1918:-

Birsay War Memorial (1918 names)

Two graves in the cemetery commemorate Great War deaths.

George Robertson, CEF, killed in action Oct 1916, aged 35:-

Memorial Stone at Birsay

L/Cpl William A D Flett, 5th Seaforth Highlanders, 51st Division, killed in action Cambrai, France, 21/3/1916, aged 21 years:-

Birsay Commemoration Stone

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