Guest speaker was local historian, catalyst for Fife Pilgrim Way and co-owner of Forth Pilgrim, Roger Pickering. He showed a film - The Orzel 1939-1940 - on YouTube in which he explained the escape of the Polish submarine from Estonia to a safe harbour. https://youtu.be/bGXPeYLyw2w
The Orzel came to Rosyth because it was the obvious safe destination after exiting the Baltic Sea. The submarine arrived in October 1939 and arrived on Rosyth three times during its operations with the Royal Navy. HMS Valorous escorted the Orzel in from the Isle of May.
During the Second World War it was Polish forces that defended Rosyth. The Orzel attacked and sunk the Rio De Janeiro that was full of German troops destined to invade Norway.
After disappearing it had to be assumed that the Orzel must have been sunk with 63 hands on board (including 3 RN personnel) and went missing on the same mission as a Dutch submarine O13 which also operated out of Rosyth.
An Orzel and Valorous twin memorial as bodies in steel is planned to help cement bond between Babcock and Polish shipbuilders. It is hoped to erect 1 to 10 scale models (8.4m in length) in 2023.
Roger lamented how the history of Rosyth Dockyard and its significance during the World Wars is not widely known.
A vote of thanks was proposed on the behalf of the club by Morag Carmichael.
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Primary Schools linked to Rotary Club of West Fife:- Blairhall, Cairneyhill, Carnock, Crossford, Camdean, Culross, Inzievar, Holy Name, Limekilns, Milesmark, St Serfs, Saline, Torryburn, Tulliallan. Secondary Schools:- Queen Anne and Woodmillmore
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