Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener 8: What Happened? None of Your Bloody Business.

Cover up.

First World War Hidden History

Marwick Head on a quiet evening. In a force 9 gale it is a death-trap.

On 5 June 1916, at 7.45 pm GMT, an urgent telegraph was sent from Birsay Post Office to Kirkwall and Stromness. It read ‘Battle cruiser seems in distress between Marwick Head and the Brough of Birsay.’ Twenty minutes later the words ‘vessel down’ followed. [1] The cruiser was about a mile and a half from shore in tempestuous swells but clearly visible to the naval watching-post on land. Marwick Head is a jagged coastal fortress of cliffs and unwelcoming rocks. If there is such a place as the perfect ambush point for a ship such that the chances of survival are minimal, then it’s Marwick Head. The escort vessels, having failed to keep pace with the faster cruiser in such awful weather, had been ordered back to Scapa Flow. [2] There were witnesses. Joe Angus, a gunner in the Orkney Territorial Forces shore patrol [3] saw a great cloud of…

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