Scots Roots

The Italian Chapel, Orkney
March 4, 2016, 10:20 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: , ,

Italian Chapel, OrkneyIn 1942, the tiny uninhabited island of Lamb Holm in the Orkney Islands became Camp 60, home to 550 Italian prisoners of war, mainly captured in North Africa. They were there to help build the Churchill Barriers to the east of Scapa Flow. These massive concrete causeways, designed to block eastern access to Scapa Flow, were begun in 1940 to link the south isles to mainland Orkney following the sinking of HMS Royal Oak by a U-boat the previous year.

Camp 60, comprised of 13 huts, was home to the Italian prisoners from January 1942 until September 1944. In 1943, permission was granted for the prisoners to build a chapel and this they did using two Nissen huts joined end to end. It was built in their spare time after work on the barriers was finished for the day using leftover concrete and materials scavenged from around the camp.

The facade on the outside of the chapel was fashioned by the prisoners from concrete and disguises the shape of the huts. Many of the prisoners were skilled tradesmen as can be seen from the beautiful interior of the chapel.

The building is still used as a chapel today and remains a popular tourist attraction.

Italian Chapel, Orkney


1 Comment so far
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I visited here. Very poignant!!

Comment by the dune mouse

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