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Digital Subscriptions > History Scotland > History Scotland Sep -Oct 2019 > ORKNEY’S ITALIAN CHAPEL

ORKNEY’S ITALIAN CHAPEL

The Italian chapel in Orkney, one of the greatest symbols of peace to emerge from the second world war, celebrates its 75th anniversary this summer. Philip Paris refl ects on how the building brought former enemies together and how it still reaches out to us today with messages of hope and love
Exterior of the chapel. The building was created using the skills of Italian POWs including a blacksmith, stonemason, electricians, bricklayers and joiners
Some of the men who built the chapel, pictured in 1944

The story of the Italian chapel on the tiny uninhabited island of Lamb Holm has, as its beginning, the tragic events of 14 October 1939, when three torpedoes tore into the side of HMS Royal Oak and 833 men lost their lives. The ship had been anchored in Scapa Flow, used by the Royal Navy as a safe harbour during both world wars. Only it wasn’t safe. German U-Boat U47 entered via a gap in the defences between mainland Orkney and Lamb Holm and escaped the same way after achieving its deadly mission.

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About History Scotland

Don't miss Sep/Oct History Scotland and the launch of our Insider BONUS CONTENT! Highlights of this packed issue include: · The Sobieski Stuarts – new research on the remarkable brothers who popularised tartan and fooled a generation with their book Vestiarium Scoticum · New findings relating to the Traprain Law hoard – discovered in East Lothian 100 years ago this year · The Aberdeen Doctors – six men who dared to oppose the National Covenant · Lords of the Isles: a striking reconstruction of a medieval Islay power base * HISTORY SCOTLAND INSIDER: Exclusive interview, new video on the north east slavery legacy, exclusive discounts from heritage partners.​