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Lyness Naval Cemetery

Located on the edge of the small hamlet of Lyness on Hoy in Orkney, which was once the headquarters for the British fleet, the Lyness Naval cemetery is a poignant place where personnel from two World Wars lie at rest. Divided into sections by religious denomination, the cemetery came into use in 1915 and contains the graves of more than 650 souls. The Anglican section was dedicated in 1915 by Cosmo Lang, Archbishop of York (1864 - 1945), who was the first Anglican Archbishop to visit Orkney. The Roman Catholic section was dedicated by Cardinal Bourne, Archbishop of Westminster (1861 - 1935), in 1918.

Graves serve as memorials to some of the great disasters of the Orkney Islands; the loss of HMS Hampshire on its way to Russia with Field Marshal Lord Kitchener, HMS Vanguard, which exploded in Scapa Flow in 1917 most likely due to unstable gunnery charges, the destroyers HMS Narborough and HMS Opal which hit Hesta Head in dreadful weather in 1918 and HMS Royal Oak torpedoed by a German submarine while anchored in the Flow on 14th October, 1939.

Also represented are sailors who died at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, together with German sailors who died while their High Seas Fleet lay interned in Scapa Flow before being scuttled in 1919 and German aircrew who came down in Orkney during World War II.

A large memorial cross is located in the middle of the cemetery, facing the entrance.


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