Scapa Beach, Orkney - Pages of the Sea


On 11 November 2018, gather as a community on Scapa Beach, Kirkwall, to say thank you and goodbye.

Please note: this is a drop in event, there is no pre-booking or registration. Suitable for all ages.

Scapa Beach, Old Scapa Road, Kirkwall, KW15 1SD

Sand Portrait

Robert William Taylor joined the National Bank of Scotland before enlisting in Kirkwall on 6th July 1915. He travelled to Glasgow to join No. 6 Depot, Royal Field Artillery as a Gunner. Robert joined D Battery, 83rd Brigade R.F.A. in the 18th (Eastern Division) in the field on 26th February 1916. 18th Division attacked at Montauban on 1st July, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, when it was one of the few British divisions to take all its objectives, at the cost of 3,115 casualties.

Robert earned the award of a Military Cross during the Battle of Passchendaele and was promoted to full Lieutenant before his division returned to the front to begin the relief of 11th Division on 10th October at Poelcapelle. He was seriously wounded by German artillery fire and died of his wounds on 24th October 1917. He was only 24 years of age when he died.

Robert Taylor is buried in Grave IX.C.18 in Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Poperinge, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. He is commemorated on Stromness War Memorial, also on a gravestone and on the war memorial in Flotta churchyard. His Military Cross is in Tankerness House Museum, Kirkwall.

On The Day

In addition to the large-scale sand art, the public will be asked to join in by creating silhouettes of people in the sand, remembering the millions of lives lost or changed forever by the conflict.

Carol Ann Duffy has written a poem especially for the moment, to be read by individuals, families and communities on the day

Location Details

Time: 3:30 – 4:30pm

Bring lights and torches, and boats will shine their lights onto the beach.

Access: Via B9148, and Old Scapa Road

Parking: On road parking adjacent to Old Scapa Road. There will be some additional space for cars in a field adjacent to the Sea Cadets’ building at Scapa.

Shuttle bus: A shuttle bus service will be operating on the day to help people attend due to the limited parking at Scapa. The shuttle bus will leave Great Western Road carpark in Kirkwall at 3pm and also at 3:30pm if there is sufficient demand. Return trips leaving Scapa at 4:30pm and, if required, at 5pm.

Catering: Sea Cadets Base – nominal charge

Toilet Facilities: Sea Cadets Base.

About Pages of the Sea

Film-maker Danny Boyle invites you to join him in marking 100 years since Armistice and the end of the First World War. Pages of the Sea is a unique moment to say goodbye, together, to the millions of men and women who left their shores during the war, many never to return.

You’re invited to beaches across the UK where, over the course of several hours, a portrait of an individual from the First World War will emerge from the sand. And then, as the tide rises, watch as it’s washed away as we take a moment to say a collective goodbye.