Sailors pay tribute to battleship sunk in war

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SAILORS from a Portsmouth warship took time out of their navigational training to pay respects to their fallen comrades.

HMS Westminster stopped at Scapa Flow to mark the sinking of HMS Royal Oak almost 80 years ago.

The Jutland veteran had been anchored in Scapa Flow when, in October 1939, German submarine U-47 slipped into harbour and torpedoed her.

It took a matter of minutes for the battleship to sink, taking 833 of her crew – many of them boy seamen – down with her.

Westminster spent several hours at anchor near the wreck. Commander Simon Kelly, Westminster’s captain, said: ‘Having had the great honour of previously serving with the Naval Diving Unit responsible for the laying of a White Ensign every year on the wreck of HMS Royal Oak, it has been an absolute privilege to return to Scapa Flow in command of Westminster to hold a service to remember the 833 sailors who lost their lives far from home.’