Div­ing club re­veals new im­ages of sunken Ger­man bat­tle­ship

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - NEWS -

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

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