Page last updated at 09:18 GMT, Wednesday, 3 September 2008 10:18 UK

Ship wreck ring goes on display

 ring found at the bottom of the sea
The ring is still in perfect condition after 89 years on the seabed

The wedding ring of a World War I sailor, which was found on the seabed 89 years after a naval warship ran aground, is going on display in Orkney.

It belonged to Stanley Cubiss, who was one of 188 crewmen who died when two British warships ran ashore on South Ronaldsay on 12 January 1918.

The ring, engraved "to Stanley from Flo", was found by divers last summer.

It was returned to the sailor's family in North Yorkshire. Stanley Cubiss's nephew Malcolm donated the ring.

Other artefacts including photos and medals have also been donated.

HMS Opal, along with HMS Narborough, ran aground in a snowstorm during World War I.

The captain of the Opal signalled "blinding snow" just an hour or two before his final message, "urgent, run aground".

I started relating the tale and I really became quite emotional and it took a little bit to recover my composure
Bob Hamilton
Diver

In 2007, a diver from Liverpool spotted the ring while exploring waters off the coast of the Orkney Islands.

Peter Brady said at first he thought it was a piece of the ship's machinery.

"I was just scraping around on the seabed and all of a sudden this thing came out, which I thought was an olive from a copper pipe," he said.

"I put it in my glove and it was when I got to the surface I looked inside it and there was a hallmark in there."

A closer inspection revealed the inscription: "To Stanley from Flo, 6 March 1916".

List of the two crew onboard the vessels produced details of Ernest Stanley Cubiss, 25, who had married Florence in June 1917.

Another diver, Bob Hamilton helped track down the nephew of Mr Cubiss.

Stanley Cubiss and Florence Cubiss nee Foster
Stanley and Florence married in June 1917

"I rang the number with great trepidation," he said.

"He answered it in a very stern manner which threw me a little.

"But I started relating the tale and I really became quite emotional and it took a little bit to recover my composure."

Malcolm Cubiss, a retired brigadier, was keen for the ring to be donated to a museum.

He said: "I would have liked it, but I'm old myself now and when I die no-one would have been interested in it and it would get thrown away.

"It's far better to be in a museum with all the other artefacts and medals of the chaps who drowned, rather than sitting in my house rotting in a drawer."

The ring, along with other memorabilia donated by Mr Cubiss, was presented to Scapa Flow Visitor Centre on the island of Hoy at a small ceremony.

Janette Park, of Orkney Museums, said it was a fantastic collection.

"It really gives you a sense of the man," she said.

"You can look at their wedding certificate and his medals and a football medal - which is another side to his life - and the 'death penny' which is an important symbol of people who lost their lives fighting for king and country."


SEE ALSO
Sea surrenders ring 89 years on
22 Nov 07 |  North Yorkshire
Clean-up for historic shipwreck
04 Sep 06 |  North East/N Isles
Dive bids to solve wreck mystery
26 Jun 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Divers flock to scuttled warship
22 Jun 04 |  Cornwall
Wartime shipwrecks are surveyed
04 Sep 08 |  Scotland

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