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Caithness Orkney Kirkwall (clip)

Stock footage of Orkney made by Grampian Television

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A Grampian presenter talks about why people have left Orkney. Presenter relates story of how a German U-boat sank the "HMS Royal Oak" in Scapa Flow during World War II - which led to the building of 'Churchill Barriers' by Italian prisoners of war. Presenter talks to a housewife about her plans to emigrate to New Zealand and to a man bound for the USA. Colonel Scarth, Convenor of Caithness County Council talks about the depopulation of Orkney.

Questions & Activities


  • Why did people leave Orkney?
  • Why do people leave rural communities?
  • What opportunities did they think were out in America and New Zealand?
  • Why were the Churchill Barriers built and who built them?
  • What type of ship was the Royal Oak?


Home Front: What other films do you know about prisoners of war involved in civil engineering for the enemy. Discuss whether it is ethical to use prisoners of war as labourers.

English: Write a diary entry about the aspirations of a young person at that time explaining why they would want to leave Orkney and then a letter home from Australia or Canada explaining some of the realities they encountered. You may want to compare this film to 'Clearance 68' and 'Will Ye No Come Back' from a similar time.

Media Studies: Make your own up to date version of this film using a presenter to talk about features on Orkney like the Churchill Barriers. Interview older people about how they felt when people starting emigrating to far away countries and why they did not go themselves.

History: Research the Royal Oak and it's significance in military history.

History / Emigration: Research a local family that left Orkney - where did they go and what did they do? You could go to the Orkney Archives to find out more about emigration from Orkney.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-129-C
Resource Rights Holder Courtesy of Scottish Television
Project Ref 0800
Date 1965
Genre TV Documentary, Stock Footage, Rushes
School Subject English, History, Geography
Subject Matter Emigration, World War 1, World War 2, Clearances
Who Grampian Television (producer)
Where Orkney
Attributes Black and White, Sound
Clip Length 3:21
Film Length 68:00