Sunny evening, 6 June 2018

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Wednesday 11 November

A brilliantly sunny day with hardly a cloud in the sky. It was very cold in the night, with the mercury dipping well below zero, to minus 2C (28F). Current temps around +9C / 48F. Tomorrow and Friday will be wet and increasingly windy.

Today is Armistice Day, and it is 91 years ago since the cessation of hostilities in the First World War. Peace was not declared until June 1919. The German Hochseeflotte was interned in Scapa Flow, Orkney, and in order to prevent the fleet being seized by the British, the commander of the fleet ordered it to be scuttled. Unbeknown to any but the most senior officers, the ships went to the bottom on June 21st, 1919. Several German sailors died, through drowning or being shot on trying to escape. During my visit to Orkney last October, I found more than a dozen of their graves at Lyness and Kirkwall. Some of the ships were raised in following years, and their metal is in great demand. Any steel, manufactured after 1944, is contaminated with atmospheric radiation originating from nuclear explosions. It is therefore unusuable for extremely sensitive instruments, like those on board satellites in space, monitoring distant stars and galaxies. The steel from the German Hochseeflotte is uncontaminated, and is used for that purpose.

Turning to the British casualties, remembered today, I would like to plug the two books I mentioned yesterday. Click on the images of the covers for details.

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