HMS Pheasant

The site of the sunken First World War destroyer HMS Pheasant has been discovered 100 years after the ship was wrecked, and its 89 crew members killed. 

HMS Pheasant was an M class destroyer built on the Clyde and launched on 23rd October 1916.

Just after midnight on March 1, 1917, the ship left Stromness to patrol the waters to the west of Orkney.

It was then that tragedy struck, as she hit a mine laid by German submarine U80.

The wreck is protected as a designated vessel under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 meaning that it cannot be entered or disturbed without permission from the Ministry of Defence.

Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (ORCA), the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute and SULA Diving confirmed the find after last month's maritime survey from the Marine Scotland vessel MV Scotia.

Sadly, only one body out of the 89 casualties was recovered - that of 20-year-old Midshipman Reginald Campbell Cotter RNR.

He is buried in the military cemetery at Lyness, Hoy, Orkney.

But somewhat serendipitously, this year marks the centenary of the loss of HMS Pheasant.

To mark the occasion, there is currently an initiative underway to develop a memorial on the Hoy, Orkney to commemorate all those who lost their lives aboard.

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