Diving club reveals new images of sunken German battleship
Spectacular underwater photographs have revealed the remains of a mysterious German battleship off the Caithness coast.
The sunken vessel in Sinclair’s Bay is that of the German destroyer V-81, which was destroyed at the Battle of Jutland in 1916.
But how and when it ended up off Caithness is still unclear.
A local policeman, PC Innes, reported a German warship getting into difficulty on Friday February 13 1920. But was it the V-81?
Members of Caithness Diving Club are convinced the wreck is the V-81, part of Germany’s First World War high seas fleet.
This month, members of the club dived on the kelp-covered wreck and took photographs of brass fittings, a turbine and what appears to be a gear box.
Fiona Houston, the club’s diving officer, said: “It lies just south of Freswick in about 10 metres of water.
“The turbines are particularly amazing. It is a spectacular dive in winter with 15-20 metres visibility. In the summer, the kelp grows too much and there is less to see.
“But it is a truly amazing wreck.”
The V-81 was understood to have been salvaged from Scapa Flow – where the German fleet was scuttled in 1919 – and was under tow to a breakers yard in Rosyth when strong winds caused it to founder off Caithness.
It was believed the warship was raised again in 1937, but what happened after that remains a mystery.
The diving club added: “The history of the V-81 is blurred and unclear. The records do not confirm that the V-81 was even in this area at the time of the sinking. However, the fact that it is the V-81 is beyond doubt.”
A previous report by staff at Nottingham University said: “There is strong documentary evidence to suggest that the wreck is that of V-81.”
Members of Caithness Diving Club at the wreck