Fallen Oak: Revealing the wreck of HMS Royal Oak

Kieran Duncan (Film-maker), Chris Rowland (Producer), Kieran Baxter (Videographer), Alice Watterson (Videographer)

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products


On the 14th October 1939 HMS Royal Oak was torpedoed by German U-Boat 47 while she sat at anchor in Scapa Bay, Orkney. Of the 1259 men on board, 835 were killed. Over 100 of them were boy sailors between 15-17 years old. The event still resonates with the relatives of those lost and the people of Orkney, a painful loss for an island community witness to such tragedy at what was believed to be a safe anchorage.

This film chronicles the extensive visual survey efforts of a small international team of volunteer civilian divers. The team use pioneering underwater survey and visualisation techniques to document the wreck as she rests on the seabed today.

The site is a designated war grave and special permission was granted by the Secretary of State for Defence for the team to document the last resting place of the 835 men and boys who lost their lives.

The project is part of a collaboration with the Royal Oak Association and the Royal Navy, and aims to ensure that HMS Royal Oak is never forgotten.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Dundee
Media of outputFilm
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • hms royal oak
  • fallen oak
  • visualisation
  • documentary


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