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Scapa 100 – call for descendants

SMS Seydlitz was one of 52 German ships scuttled at the end of WWI.

Plans are developing to mark the centenary of the scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet in Scapa Flow, with a call for descendants to become involved in the programme of events.

The deliberate sinking of the vessels on 21 June 1919 remains one of the greatest losses of shipping ever recorded in a single day.

One hundred years later, commemorations will be held on Midsummer’s Day 2019 to remember the 15 German lives lost as a result of the internment and scuttling of the fleet.

A programme of community events held around the time of the anniversary will reveal the historical significance of the scuttling and mark its impact and continued legacy in Orkney.

The events in 1919 were witnessed by a large group of school children from Stromness, who were on an outing in Scapa Flow aboard a local vessel, the Flying Kestrel.

Antony Mottershead, arts officer with Orkney Islands Council, said: “We are working with partners in Germany to see if we are able to identify and contact any descendants of the 15 sailors who sadly lost their lives.

“Closer to home, we would like to hear from descendants of the children who were aboard the Flying Kestrel or have a close family connection to the events that unfolded that day.”

Antony can be contacted at antony.mottershead@orkney.gov.uk or on 01856 873535 extension 2406.

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