Royal Navy divers carry White Ensign to site of HMS Royal Oak
Navy

Royal Navy Divers Pay Tribute To Sailors Lost In Battleship Sinking

Eight hundred and thirty-four crew died after HMS Royal Oak was torpedoed on 14 October 1939.

Royal Navy divers carry White Ensign to site of HMS Royal Oak

Divers were granted special permission to dive on the registered war grave by the Defence Secretary (Picture: Royal Navy).

Royal Navy and civilian divers have travelled to the wreck of HMS Royal Oak to pay their respects to the 834 sailors who lost their lives during the Second World War.

The battleship was torpedoed by a German U-Boat on 14 October 1939 while at anchor at Scapa Flow.

The Royal Navy team were joined by civilian divers from MV Huskyan, who were granted special permission to dive on the registered war grave by the Defence Secretary.

Lieutenant Commander Chris Stephenson, Commanding Officer of Northern Diving Group at HM Naval Base Clyde said they appreciated the support of the Huskyan team in their efforts to record the wreck for relatives and future generations:

“It remains our honour and privilege to continue to conduct diving operations on HMS Royal Oak."

Royal Navy and civilian divers approach site of HMS Royal Oak
Royal Navy and civilian divers approach site of HMS Royal Oak (Picture: Royal Navy)

Able Seaman Matthew Kilminster, who dived to replace the White Ensign, said:

“It was a wonderful opportunity to pay our respects to the lost servicemen - a privilege that not many RN Clearance Divers will ever get and a dive I will never forget."

A ceremony was also held at the HMS Royal Oak Memorial, followed by a wreath-laying at sea above where the ship now rests.

Royal Navy divers at site of HMS Royal Oak
Every year Royal Navy divers change the White Ensign at the site of the wreckage (Picture: Royal Navy)