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Blockades & the Churchill Barriers

During WWI, blockships were deliberately sunk in the smaller channels of the Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands to protect British ships from attack. By the beginning of WWII, the defenses had fallen into disrepair and the blockships proved to be inadequate when HMS Royal Oak was sunk at anchor on October 14th, 1939. Taking advantage of high tide, the German submarine U-47 was able to navigate around the blockships, gain access to the Scapa Flow, and carry out two attack runs. Seven torpedoes were launched, three of which struck HMS Royal Oak. Within 15 minutes the HMS Royal Oak had sunk and the German U-boat had left the way it entered. Of the 1,208 officers and men aboard the HMS Royal Oak, 833 were killed.

In response to the attack, Winston Churchill ordered the construction of four permanent barriers to prevent further attacks. These barriers would also link together the chain of islands.

Shipwreck at the Historic Churchill Barriers, Orkney Islands, Scotland, UK - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/churchill-barriers
Shipwreck at the Historic Churchill Barriers, Orkney Islands, Scotland, UK - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/churchill-barriers
Shipwreck at the Historic Churchill Barriers, Orkney Islands, Scotland, UK - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/churchill-barriers
Shipwreck at the Historic Churchill Barriers, Orkney Islands, Scotland, UK - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/churchill-barriers
Shipwreck at the Historic Churchill Barriers, Orkney Islands, Scotland, UK - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/churchill-barriers
Shipwreck at the Shipwreck at the Historic Churchill Barriers, Orkney Islands, Scotland, UK - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/churchill-barriers
Shipwreck at the Shipwreck at the Historic Churchill Barriers, Orkney Islands, Scotland, UK - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/churchill-barriers

Churchill Barriers Overview

  • Coordinates: 58.893, -2.897
  • Fees: FREE
  • Usage: Heavy
  • Pets allowed: Yes
Leave No Trace Please respect the places you find on American Expeditioners. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don’t damage these amazing places for the sake of a selfie. In polite layman’s terms: pick up your trash and don’t be a jerk! Learn More
Tags : orkney