The following presents new data collected as part of a recent Historic Scotland funded project – the Scapa Flow 2013 Marine Archaeology Survey – which aimed to assess the extent and condition of some of the sites around Scapa Flow.
A British steel steamship built by Naval Construction and Armament Co. Ltd. in 1897, for the Great Western Railway Company, the HMS Roedean was originally named Roebuck II, and was used as a passenger ferry between the Channel Islands and Southampton. She was requisitioned by the Royal Navy on 2nd October 1914 and was converted into a minesweeper.
On 13th January 1915 the HMS Roedean dragged her anchor in Longhope Bay during a gale and collided with the bow of the repair hulk Imperious. Despite dropping a second anchor and seeking assistance from two tugs, she settled stern first and sank. After sinking, both masts were visible from Hackness Martello Tower protruding from the seabed, making the site a hazard to navigation.
The remains were extensively blasted in 1953 and 1956 to clear the superstructure, and this is likely the cause of the extensive field of debris which surround the main wreck site (Churchill College Archives, FELL 4/2). Although the wreck is well broken up, the main wreckage falls within the confines of her original dimensions. Oriented east to west with the bow to the west the boilers midships are marked with a buoy and the site is occasionally visited by recreational divers.
The HMS Roedean now sits on a mud-silt bottom in 8.8m – 15m of water in an area of slight tide.
The stern is more intact than the bow and the shape of the hull is more clearly defined. The propeller and rudder were not visible. Moving forward there are two large Scotch boilers midships which form the most intact section of the wreck standing 4m proud of the seabed. The bow section is very fragmented with a lot of miscellaneous debris (chain, deck and hull plating of various sizes, ribs and curved plates) in the general area.
The main wreck is surrounded by an extensive debris field with the debris to the north comprising larger sections of scattered structure.
Side Scan Data
The side scan image indicates the wreck measures 88m long by 16m beam. The boilers and surrounding debris field are clearly visible on the image.