british British Royal Navy - Admiralty - RN HMS Royal Oak [+1939]
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nationality british
purpose war
type battleship
subtype/class Revenge class battleship (br.)
propulsion steam
date built 1914
live live
weight (tons) 28000  disp (surf)
dimensions 176.8 x 31.2 x 8.7 m
material steel, armoured
engine 4 shaft Parsons geared turbines 18 Yarrow boilers
armament 8 × 15"/381 mm, 14 × 6"/152.4 mm, 2 × 3"/76.2 mm, 4 × 47 mm guns, 4 × 21"/533 mm submerged T.T.
power 26500  s.h.p.
speed 21  knots
about the loss
cause lost torpedo
date lost 14/10/1939  [dd/mm/yyyy]
casualties  833rank: 133
about people
Devonport Naval Dockyard - Plymouth Dockyard, Plymouth
British Royal Navy - Admiralty - RN, London
complement 1009~1146
about the wreck
depth (m.) 25 max. / 1.8 min. (m)
orientation 45°
protected yes
war grave yes
entered by Lettens Jan
entered 01/07/2002
last update Lettens Jan
last update 26/12/2009
Lettens Jan01/10/2009
latitudeUK hydro member
longitudeUK hydro member
AISUK hydro member
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dist. homeportdist. homeport
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 UK Hydrographic Office
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  The Wreck today  

Lettens Jan04/04/2013

UK hydro member
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 UK Hydrographic Office

Lockett Graham23/02/2010

As a Royal Navy diving club the Naval Air Command Sub Aqua Club (NACSAC) had permission to dive on the wreck of HMS Royal Oak during the two week period of their annual diving expedition in 1987. The twelve divers of the team each got to dive the wreck about 8 times.

The ship capsized as she sank and now lies almost upside down in 33m. The deck lies at an angle of about 20 - 30 degrees to the seabed, the up-turned hull being only 12m beneath the surface. As the weight of the wreck rests on the superstructure the bows are a good 3m clear of the seabed, with the anchor chains hanging down in big loops. As you proceed aft, every single porthole remains in place! These are a massive 18 – 20” in diameter, some open, others closed and some with their deadlight down, looking in one port-hole near the officers galley the dinner plates can still be seen stacked in the drying racks. At “A” and “B” turret the massive turret lids have fallen off and lie on the seabed, all the components are therefore visable within the turrets, voice pipes, complete with spring-loaded covers, the huge breeches to the 15” guns and big brass wheels etc. The guns have unfortunately swivelled and now lie underneath the wreck. Further aft the superstructure, including the spotting top lies broken on the seabed, with the steam pinnace crushed underneath. Higher up the 6” row of guns of the secondary armament are pointing outwards as if waiting to go into action, the multi-barrelled pom-poms also are easy to spot. Continuing aft along a row of portholes you come to “X” and “Y” turret, again with their lids displaced and lying on the seabed, the turret fittings looking as intact as the forward ones. From the quarterdeck, where the wood remains intact, you can swim around to the lower hull where there is the only sign of any salvage work. The props are missing, taken off by the RN in the 1950s, the shafts however remain. On another dive we looked at the massive torpedo holes on the port side, seeing the size of these it is obvious why she sank so quickly.

This is no doubt a fantastic dive, despite this, after a dive there never seemed to be any elation expressed by the divers, with the loss of so many lives when she sank and with the wreck being so intact it is a very thought provoking experience, generally there was little “chatter” in the boats on the way back to Scapa pier, the normally exuberant divers being lost in their own thoughts
ref. used
[1] Lockett Graham
[2] Nacsac

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copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu
 copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu copyright: Lucien De Decker, 1939 copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu copyright: Tom Brunton And Gordon Ggraham 
  copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu  
 copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu   copyright: UK Hydrographic Office 
 copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu copyright: copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu  
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  Hydrographic Service UK  
Claes Johnny22/09/2007At 0116 hours on 14 October 1939 the German submarine U-47 fired a spread of three torpedoes at HMS Royal Oak and the British seaplane tender HMS Pegasus lying at anchor in the harbour of Scapa Flow, turned around and fired a stern torpedo at 0121 hours. Prien misidentified the seaplane tender as HMS Repulse and claimed a hit, but a torpedo apparently hit the starboard anchor chain of the battleship and did not damage the ships.

At 0123 hours, the U-boat fired a second spread of three torpedoes that hit HMS Royal Oak (Capt. William Gordon Benn) on the starboard side and caused a magazine to blew up. The battleship rolled over and sank in 19 minutes. The ship complement was 1208 officers and men, 833 of them were killed and there were 375 survivors.
Allen Tony22/11/2007Royal Oak HMS (08) was a British Royal Navy Battleship, Captain Cmdr W.H. Benn. In the early hours of this date sunk in Scapa Flow by German U-47. 833 lives lost. Royal Oak HMS was a battleship of the Royal Sovereign Class launched the 17th November 1914 at Devonport Dockyard. She measured 580´x102.5´x28.5´ and carried a compliment between 1009 to 1146 crew. She was capable of 21 knots. The RoyalOak lies in 25 metres of water, 1000 metres from the shore.

Every year, on the 14th of October, a White Ensign is placed on the hull by Royal Navy divers
Lettens Jan10/06/2009In the early hours of October 14th 1939, the German submarine U-47 (Gunther Prien) sank HMS Royal Oak (Capt. Cmdr W.H. Benn). 833 lives were lost. HMS Royal Oak was a battleship of the Royal Sovereign Class launched the 17th November 1914 at Devonport Dockyard.
Lettens Jan01/10/2009UK hydro member
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 UK Hydrographic Office

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About Owners
British Royal Navy - Admiralty - RN, London

In 1509 when Henry VIII was crowned he realised the growing navel power of King James IV of Scots. James had built an impressive fleet to control the Western Isles and was allied to France. Henry built up of his own fleet, the Navy Royal, as it was then known. New ships were constructed, the best known being the Mary Rose. Smaller types of warships (galleases) combining the best features of oars, sails and guns were also built. By Henry's death in 1547 his fleet had grown to 58 vessels.

In 1546 a 'Council of the Marine' was established which later became the 'Navy Board'. The Navy Board was in charge of the daily administration of the navy until 1832 when it was combined with the Board of the Admiralty.

Elizabeth I inherited a fleet of only 27 ships in 1558. Instead of building up her own fleet Elizabeth encouraged private enterprise against Spain's new empire. Men like Sir John Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake to command groups of Royal and private ships to attack the Spanish. When Spain threatened invasion with its Armada in 1588 the Navy of England both Royal and private defended the realm.

Early in the Seventeenth Century, larger galleons were built with heavier armaments. the largest English ship was Sovereign of the Seas built for prestige purposes by Charles I in 1637. The first ship with three gun decks to carry her 102 guns, she was the most powerful ship in the world for many years.

When King Charles II came to the throne in 1660 he inherited a huge fleet of 154 ships. This was a permanent professional national force and the beginning of the Royal Navy as we know it today.

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Allen Tony  04/01/2012
Why HMS Royal Oak was sunk.
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 Peter Mitchell
Why HMS Royal Oak was sunk.
Why HMS Royal Oak was sunk.
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HMS Royal Oak [+1939]
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