U-Boat ace of U-124 sunk by HMS Black Swan

2nd April 1943: U-Boat ace and crew of U-124 sunk by HMS Black Swan

There were ships that had seen scores of long-drawn out actions, and still came back cheerfully for more; there were men – British and Allied sailors – who dared all, not as a job for money but simply as a chosen habit, who returned to the same task and the same run after two or even three hideous ordeals as survivors, who stuck to oil-tankers as other people stick to one brand of bottled beer.




A first anti U-boat patrol out over the Bay of Biscay

31st March 1943: A first anti U-boat patrol out over the Bay of Biscay

The routine check ofthe aircraft began while the duty hand, still in his underwear, tried to drag on his trousers and rub the sleep out of his eyes.You wandered round watching every body move through the orderly procession of duty; inspecting the bilges and the guns and the ammunition, adjusting the moorings for casting off, unlocking the flying controls, arranging the signal colours, checking the cockpit and the wireless and testing the engine controls, setting up the charts, blacking out the portholes, and clambering up top out onto the wing to examine the mainplane.




HMS Turbulent fails to return

23rd March 1943: HMS Turbulent fails to return

In his last year he spent two hundred and fifty-four days at sea, submerged for nearly half the time, and his ship was hunted thirteen times and had two hundred and fifty depth-charges aimed at her. His many and brilliant successes were due to his constant activity and skill, and the daring which never failed him when there was an enemy to be attacked.




U-boat Wolfpack ‘Arrow’ attacks convoy SC-118

7th February 1943: U-boat Wolfpack ‘Arrow’ attacks convoy SC-118

There were two army soldiers who didn’t want to get on a raft, I tried to tell them the ship was sinking, but they still didn’t want to go.
Finally I picked one of them up and threw him in the water. The second guy still didn’t want to go, so I told him I would throw him in too if he didn’t go on his own. Finally he did go on a raft.




Heroism of four Chaplains on U.S.A.T. Dorchester

3rd February 1943: Heroism of four Chaplains on U.S. Troop ship Dorchester

They distributed life jackets from a locker; when the supply of life jackets ran out, each of the chaplains gave theirs to other soldiers. When the last lifeboats were away, the chaplains prayed with those unable to escape the sinking ship. 27 minutes after the torpedo struck, the Dorchester disappeared below the waves with 672 men still aboard. The last anyone saw of the four chaplains, they were standing on the deck, arms linked and praying together.




Chance escape for the sole survivor from U-224

13th January 1943: Chance escape for the sole survivor from U-22

As soon as his head appeared, “U 224″ was peppered with gunfire. Danckworth says he remembered seeing the bow of a ship bearing down on him, and after that he remembered nothing more except that he was at one moment some 5 to 6 yards below the surface and automatically making swimming movements.




Crew of U-331 suffer for half hearted ‘surrender’

17th November 1942: Crew of U-331 suffer for half hearted ‘surrender’

What survivors described as a biplane then approached them from starboard and fired a torpedo. The torpedo-track was clearly evident and Tiesenhausen ordered hard-a-starboard, but it was too late. (N.I.D. Note. This was an Albacore aircraft from H.M.S. “Formidable,” which later reported that one 18 in. Torpedo Mark XII*, Duplex pistol , set to 12 ft., speed 40 knots, was released 700 yards from the U-Boat. The U-Boat disappeared after the explosion of the torpedo and a second explosion was observed under water and wreckage was seen.)




U-505 survives devastating attack

10th November 1942: U-505 survives devastating attack

This time the shock waves pushed our boat upward, sending anyone still standing after the first blast sailing through the air. One of the men who was standing watch on the bridge, a Petty Officer, was blown by the force ofthe first blast through the top hatch and down into the conning tower. The second set of blasts rolled his bloody, unconscious body down through the control room hatch, where he fell and landed on his head on the steel deck in front of me.




Troopship sunk 500 miles off South Africa

9th October 1942: Troopship sunk 500 miles off South Africa

Our lifeboat was by now more than half full of water. Bailing did not improve the position noticeably. Decided to find another boat. Eventually discovered one almost waterlogged, a steel effort which we managed to empty of its water and crude oil after two hours hard bailing. It was now mid-day and extremely hot. During the morning the two launches which had been safely got away had rounded up all the life boats, thirteen altogether. Set course for Freetown!




U-333 makes narrow escape from HMS Crocus

6th October 1942: U-333 makes narrow escape from HMS Crocus

The first watch officer and I at once got to our feet again. I had several splinters in the arm and the officer had one through the throat. The explosion threw us both down the conning-tower hatch, but we managed to climb back onto the bridge. When my companion was hit several more times in the arm and leg, I ordered him to leave me alone on the bridge. With my one sound arm I helped the wounded lying on the bridge to get back down into the conning tower. One man, a bosun’s mate, had apparently slipped overboard and disappeared without trace.