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 in 1888 by Gray William & Co., Ltd., West Hartlepool for R. Ropner & Co., West Hartlepool the Elton was purchased by the Admiralty in 1914 and was sunk as a Blockship in Skerry Sound on 3rd October 1914. Admiralty reports indicate that she rolled over and broke her back. In the 1915 sketch she is depicted as being upside down. Now largely buried only three small sections of the wreck can be dived. These are best accessed by boat, and though it is possible to swim between the sections, there is little to see. The sections are oriented southwest to northeast.
Both Ferguson (1985: 30) and Macdonald (1993: 118) confuse the SS Elton with the mis-identified remains of the SS Emerald Wings, which is identifiable from her very distinctive forward mast which stands clear of the water in all states of the tide.
The wreckage to the southeast of the site is a sectionof bow, standing approximately 2m proud of the seabed on the edge of a scour depression. Two pipes run along the edge of a section of plating, the larger of which forms of coupling with a gear wheel.
Moving northeast, at the second of the three sections the remains of a steel propeller shaft tunnel aft of an engine room can be seen. Portions of the propeller shaft coupling are slightly exposed. Within the tunnel there is an open door and door aperture which would have provided access to the narrower shaft tunnel is visible to the northeast of the remains. The tunnel becomes increasingly buried until the remains are obscured by sand.
The final section of wreckage is part of the stern of the SS Elton. There are a few steel plates and ribs in this area, and inshore these intermingle with the iron remains of the SS Teeswood.
Side Scan Data
Each of the three sections can be identified on the side scan image in the gallery. These are identified as bow, prop shaft tunner and stern section respectively.