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Pictures from Doug and Pat Ross on their trip to Scotland 2007
Churchill Barriers and Italian Chapel, Orkney

After we landed, we had a new driver and a new bus. Pat took a few photos at the harbour and a pit stop before our first glimpse of a Churchill Barrier. Britain realized during WWI that its naval base at the mainland of the Orkneys needed protection, and enemy ships began to be sunk on the eastern side of the deepest channels leading to the Scapa Flow. At the end of WWI, the entire German fleet was brought there and the captains scuttled their own ships rather than turn them over.

    When a German submarine managed to get through in WWII, Churchill immediately began the construction of barriers. A road was eventually built on top of the causeways allowing the southern isles of South Ronaldsay, Burray, Glimps Holm and Lamb Holm to become part of the main roadway system of Orkney.

Some 1300 Italian prisoners-of-war were housed in Camps on the Orkneys during the Africa Campaign of 1943. Camp 60 on Lamb Holm had an enterprising group of skilled craftsmen who decided to construct a church so they could worship. Basically, they used scrapwood from a wrecked ship, stones from a quarry plus discarded metal or shattered glass. Nicolo Barabino's "Madonna of the Olives" is still displayed in the church. A statue of St. George killing a dragon stands outside. The chief planner, Domenico Chiocchetti, remained behind to finish the font after the other prisoners left to be repatriated at the end of the war.

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