Wednesday 4 November 2015: Probian John Robson: A Slice of Military History
John’s knowledge of Naval History is such that he has been called upon to speak at meetings of the club several times because of the interesting way in which he approaches each topic. His topic on this occasion was the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet at the end of the First World War. As part of the armistice of 1918 Germany was made to surrender her Navy to Admiral Beattie at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands. In all 74 German warships were laid up with their guns spiked – navy speak for the removal of their firing mechanisms. However each ship was allowed to maintain a skeleton crew to keep the boilers stoked and the ships seaworthy. But the Germans became suspicious of British motives and scuttled their own fleet as it lay at anchor. Mr Robson described how in the years which followed many of the ships were salvaged for scrap. In fact salvage operations continue to this day because of the high value of the steel in some of the hulls. John was thanked for for his interesting talk by probian Alastair Orr.