Forth’s vi­tal role in fi­nal act of First World War

Largest assem­bly of naval ships ever seen took place 10 days af­ter Ar­mistice – and now fea­tures in North Queens­ferry ex­hi­bi­tion

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - NEWS - LEEZA CLARK leclark@the­courier.co.uk

The story of the great­est naval pageant ever staged seems to be lit­tle known.

Bri­tish naval his­tory’s great­est mo­ment of the last cen­tury came, ar­guably, 10 days af­ter the Ar­mistice, with the sur­ren­der of the Im­pe­rial Ger­man Navy in the Forth.

It was the big­gest assem­bly of naval ships the world had ever seen and the last act of the First World War.

North Queens­ferry Her­itage Trust is hop­ing to raise aware­ness of the mo­men­tous day, known as Op­er­a­tion ZZ, with events and a longer term legacy.

Fifty of the most pow­er­ful ships from the Ger­man High Seas Fleet crossed the North Sea from their ports in an area known as the Ger­man Bight.

They were met at Point X, 40 miles off the Forth, by ships from the Grand Fleet and es­corted into the Forth.

This turned out to be the great­est naval pageant ever staged, with more than 300 ships from the Royal Navy, USA, France and the Com­mon­wealth.

Re­search car­ried out by North Queens­ferry Her­itage Trust (NQHT) has been made into a com­pre­hen­sive ex­hi­bi­tion cov­er­ing pre and post-First World War ex­ploits of naval forces in the Forth in­clud­ing key op­er­a­tions in North Queens­ferry.

The ex­hi­bi­tion is now show­ing at the Forth Bridge Her­itage Cen­tre at North Queens­ferry sta­tion un­til the end of March 2019.

To il­lus­trate how im­por­tant com­mu­ni­ca­tion was in end­ing the Great War, a spe­cial event am­a­teur ra­dio sta­tion will be trans­mit­ting from the fish­er­man’s hut be­side the light tower us­ing the call sign GB1FB un­til December 1.

As part of this ex­pe­ri­ence, vis­i­tors are in­tro­duced to the world of codes, puz­zles and ci­phers that helped end the war by de­cod­ing cru­cial en­emy sig­nals.

Both the hut, which nor­mally acts as an in­for­ma­tion point for the Forth Bridge, and the light tower are man­aged and sup­ported by NQHT.

North Queens­ferry has many First World War her­itage sites dom­i­nated by the Forth Bridge, the light tower, gun em­place­ments at Car­ling­nose Point, the kite bal­loon air sta­tion and the sub­ma­rine mine sta­tion.

They can all be seen dur­ing a walk­ing tour start­ing from the cen­tre.

Full de­tails on open­ing times for the ex­hi­bi­tion, ra­dio sta­tion and walk­ing tours are avail­able at www.nqht.org

All th­ese com­mem­o­ra­tive events would not have been pos­si­ble with­out the sup­port of the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund and the vol­un­teers.

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