THURSDAY 17 OCT STROMNESS TOWN HALL
> > REGISTRATION from 2:00 – 3:45pm
4:00pm OPENING SESSION
Welcome from Chair Janette Park, Curator, Stromness Museum
Luxury Scrap Iron: The Surrender and Scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet
Keynote speaker ANDREW HAN LIN CHOONG– Curator, Historic Photographs & Ships plans, National Maritime Museum Greenwich
The surrender of the German High Seas Fleet in November 1918 and its subsequent destruction at the hands of its own crews seven months later had a lasting impact on Scapa Flow. Despite the successful salvage efforts which left only seven of the fifty two ships originally scuttled on the bottom of the Flow today, the wrecks continue to exert an important influence on the culture, environment and economy of the Orkney Islands.
This talk aims to set the historical scene by revisiting the momentous events from late 1918 to the summer of 1919 from both British and German perspectives. It will assess Germany’s strategic position in the autumn of 1918 and examine the dwindling options which culminated in the desperate plan to launch a final offensive with the High Seas Fleet, thus sparking off the celebrated naval mutinies which ultimately led to the fall of the Kaiser’s government. Analysis of the complex and tense negotiations concerning the fate of the High Seas Fleet and its well-publicised surrender will follow, as will a look at the internment period in terms of the experiences of Orcadians and British and German naval personnel. The final part will deal with the development of the German plan to scuttle their fleet, a brief overview of the events of 21 June and the subsequent military and diplomatic ‘fallout’. The talk will then conclude with a sum up of the situation as of late 1919, some years prior to the beginning of private salvage of the wrecks.
4:45 – 5:15pm QUESTIONS
5:15 – 7:30pm Free time before evening reception. There are three restaurants offering evening meals at this time of year – The Stromness Hotel, Ferry Inn and The Royal Hotel – booking advised. More info here.
7:30pm Civic Reception at the Pier Arts Centre
Visit the Pier Arts Centre website here.
images: Pier Arts Centre – Alistair Peebles / Archive image – Tom Kent, Orkney Library & Archive