21st June 1919, a midsummer day, saw the 74 warships of the interned German Imperial navy’s high seas fleet at anchor in Scapa Flow. Manned only by skeleton crews and their guns disarmed. The fleet was made up of 50 destroyers, 11 battleships, 8 cruisers and 5 battle cruisers including the massive 656ft Seydlit,, Von Der Tann, Motke, Hindenburg and Derfflinger. The smaller 26,000 ton battleships, light cruisers and torpedo -boat destroyers.
Believing that hostilities were about to resume Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter gave a pre-arranged coded order which sent 52 of the ships to the sea bed.
In the 1920’s / 30’s amazingly 45 vessels were raised, this feat remains today the greatest marine salvage operation in history. Today the battleships Kronprinz Wilhelm, Markgraf and Konig.; Light cruisers Coln, Dresden, Brummer and Karlsruhe; torpedo-boat destroyers, s54 and v83; 1 submarine UB-116 and four 600 ton gun turrets of the Bayern remain. This makes Scapa Flow one of the most important wreck diving sites in the world and probably Europe’s premier wreck diving site.