The Italian Chapel, Orkney

Donald S. Murray

An inspiring story of how the human spirit triumphs over adversity this book tells the incredible tale of how a small group of Italian soldiers, imprisoned on the island of Orkney during WW2, came to construct the renowed Italian chapel that still stands today.
Date Published :
July 2017
Publisher :
Illustration :
24pp color plates
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781780274294
Pages : 240
Dimensions : 7.7 X 5.1 inches
In stock


Thousands of visitors go to the Italian Chapel in Orkney every year, witnesses to a series of remarkable acts of transformation. Among these are the Churchill Barriers nearby, straddling the ocean to link a number of Orkney's southernmost islands to its mainland. Constructed to protect Britain's naval fleet in Scapa Flow during World War Two, its builders included a group of Italian soldiers imprisoned in this bleak and windswept part of Scotland. In the course of this, they not only played a part in changing Orkney's way-of-life forever but also transformed a simple Nissen Hut, constructing through their labours a place-of-worship that still stands till this day a remarkable symbol of their identity and faith.

The Italian Chapel: Orkney tells the story of the strength and tenacity, laughter and tears of the men who built the Italian Chapel, showing how spirits defeated and despondent during years of exile were lifted by its creation. It does this with its own artistry and grace, using folk-tale and myth to provide a fitting counterpart to the wonder and beauty of the building that inspired it.

About The Author

Donald S. Murray was born in Ness in the Isle of Lewis. A teacher, author and journalist, his poetry, prose and verse has been shortlisted for both the Saltire Award and Callum Macdonald Memorial Award. Published widely, his work has also appeared in a number of national anthologies and on BBC Radio 4 and Radio Scotland. He lives and works in Shetland.


A beautiful book in many ways' 

- New Shetlander

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