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The Blucher


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Its was not only the LLdovey Castle where survivors were fired on

When the Blucher was sunk and crew from the Lysander went out

to the rescue the survivors they, and the rescuers were bombed by the

enemy. This resulted in the rescue boats being called back to their ship.

I am so grateful to Stan and others who helped unravel the ship that I

thought started Chip: but on checking the dates I am sure it was the

Lysander, and the C was in fact a bracket as suggested. This has helped greatly.

Regards Margarette

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The bombing of the rescuers of the Blucher had a lasting effect on British crews, I have researched cases where there was reluctance to rescue for the fear of repition.

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The bombing of the rescuers of the Blucher had a lasting effect on British crews, I have researched cases where there was reluctance to rescue for the fear of repition.

Hi per a

I have also found this reluctance reorded, particularly in the Harwich Fleet.

thanks for your comment.

Margarette

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It was a two sided thing on many occasions. Werner Fürbringer was the commander of UB 110 and in his book ‘Alarm ! Tauchen!!’ - 1933, he wrote:

“…my crew were in the water waiting to be rescued. But there was indiscipline aboard the British ship. Men from the destroyer fired on the survivors, while others hurled lumps of coal at the heads in the water. The smaller craft had closed and were also exercising their machine gunners…I saw my steward…he looked towards me imploringly…I had started to swim towards him when his skull was split open by a large lump of coal. He was dead before I got to him. Oberleutnant Loebell who was swimming nearby had no lifejacket, said that he had been shot in the thigh. I gave him support. ‘Let me die in peace’, he said, ‘they are just going to murder us all in any case’. I made no reply and merely held on to him…”

In a contemporary account recorded by a British naval intelligence officer in the days following his capture, Fürbringer made no reference to the above atrocities he later claimed had been meted out to his crew. On the other hand it could be argued that the intelligence officer was unlikely to either investigate or even record such hugely embarrassing allegations.

Terrible things, WARS

Cheers Ron

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It was a two sided thing on many occasions. Werner Fürbringer was the commander of UB 110 and in his book ‘Alarm ! Tauchen!!’ - 1933, he wrote:

“…my crew were in the water waiting to be rescued. But there was indiscipline aboard the British ship. Men from the destroyer fired on the survivors, while others hurled lumps of coal at the heads in the water. The smaller craft had closed and were also exercising their machine gunners…I saw my steward…he looked towards me imploringly…I had started to swim towards him when his skull was split open by a large lump of coal. He was dead before I got to him. Oberleutnant Loebell who was swimming nearby had no lifejacket, said that he had been shot in the thigh. I gave him support. ‘Let me die in peace’, he said, ‘they are just going to murder us all in any case’. I made no reply and merely held on to him…”

In a contemporary account recorded by a British naval intelligence officer in the days following his capture, Fürbringer made no reference to the above atrocities he later claimed had been meted out to his crew. On the other hand it could be argued that the intelligence officer was unlikely to either investigate or even record such hugely embarrassing allegations.

Terrible things, WARS

Hi Ron

I am sure most people agree with you, that war in any form

is terrible but does the human race learn from its mistakes.

Regard

Margarette

Cheers Ron

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This is a fascinating account Ron, what research have you done to verify it? There are several factors that I find unusual not to say unlikely. I note that the book was published in 1933, at the time of the rise of the Nazis and long after the war had ended. What guns did the men aboard the destroyer open fire with? If it was small arms, then who gave the order to break them out of store? Where did the others get the coal from? What did the stoker CPO have to say on the matter? I doubt that there was any lying around on deck, especially as the main fuel for destroyers was oil. Where did the ‘smaller craft’ (presumably her rowing boats and maybe 20 foot motor launch) get all the machine guns from? Battleships only carried 5 and most of those were fixed; destroyers only carried one and rarely fitted in a boat as a matter of course and so again who authorised them/it to be fitted in this case? If the smaller boats were going to the rescue then an MG would both be excess weight and alter the boat’s centre of gravity for pulling the survivors in, which was dangerous enough without added weight or altered centre of gravity.

Did he report the incident to the Red Cross when they inspected his Prisoner of War camp? He didn’t have to rely on it coming out via the interrogation officer. However I disagree that the intelligence officer would have been as complicit as you suggest. I have read files where there were German allegations of mistreatment, which seem to have been investigated.

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The destroyer which attacked UB-110 was HMS GARRY, a coal burner. There was also at least one ML present. However, Furbringer's account is the only instance of this accusation that I have seen.

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This is a fascinating account Ron, what research have you done to verify it? There are several factors that I find unusual not to say unlikely. I note that the book was published in 1933, at the time of the rise of the Nazis and long after the war had ended. What guns did the men aboard the destroyer open fire with? If it was small arms, then who gave the order to break them out of store? Where did the others get the coal from? What did the stoker CPO have to say on the matter? I doubt that there was any lying around on deck, especially as the main fuel for destroyers was oil. Where did the ‘smaller craft’ (presumably her rowing boats and maybe 20 foot motor launch) get all the machine guns from? Battleships only carried 5 and most of those were fixed; destroyers only carried one and rarely fitted in a boat as a matter of course and so again who authorised them/it to be fitted in this case? If the smaller boats were going to the rescue then an MG would both be excess weight and alter the boat’s centre of gravity for pulling the survivors in, which was dangerous enough without added weight or altered centre of gravity.

Did he report the incident to the Red Cross when they inspected his Prisoner of War camp? He didn’t have to rely on it coming out via the interrogation officer. However I disagree that the intelligence officer would have been as complicit as you suggest. I have read files where there were German allegations of mistreatment, which seem to have been investigated.

Hello per ardua per mare per terram

I did not research the story, the text was taken directly out of his the autobiography: ‘Alarm ! Tauchen !!’ published in 1933, however that was republished in 1999 by Leo Cooper as ‘FIPS - Legendary U-boat Commander’ and is a Great War classic and cannot be recommended highly enough - because it provides an insight into the life (and death) of the Great War U-boat man.

I don't know why Fürbringer did not report the matter to the Red Cross or anyone else at the time either, or even if it was true, but many things happen in wartime that was not reported and the same things happen even today. Both sides committed acts that should not have happened.

You may have read files where there were German allegations of mistreatment, which 'seem' to have been investigated, but what about the ones that were not ?

Cheers Ron

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Hello per ardua per mare per terram

I did not research the story, the text was taken directly out of his the autobiography: ‘Alarm ! Tauchen !!’ published in 1933, however that was republished in 1999 by Leo Cooper as ‘FIPS - Legendary U-boat Commander’ and is a Great War classic and cannot be recommended highly enough - because it provides an insight into the life (and death) of the Great War U-boat man.

I don't know why Fürbringer did not report the matter to the Red Cross or anyone else at the time either, or even if it was true, but many things happen in wartime that was not reported and the same things happen even today. Both sides committed acts that should not have happened.

You may have read files where there were German allegations of mistreatment, which 'seem' to have been investigated, but what about the ones that were not ?

Cheers Ron

Hello

My account of the bombing of rescuers is from a verbal

account left by my Grand father who was one of the recuers.

he always said seamen of any country once in the sea became

just sailors, and it was the duty of others sailors to atempt to

save lives, he never got over leaving men from the Blucher in

the water.

Regards Margarette

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The destroyer which attacked UB-110 was HMS GARRY, a coal burner

I believe the Captain of HMS Garry was one Charles Lightoller, previously Second Officer of RMS Titanic.

One would hope that he of all people would have some sympathy for survivors in the water, and that he was a sufficiently disciplined officer to keep order and not to have coal lying around on deck.

Adrian

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The more I think about this the more unlikely it gets. These waters were incredibly congested, a destroyer, MLs and small craft all milling around; that mean’s more one crew to keep this incident secret and also a lot effort to rescue the UBoat crew as well as having British crews exposed to risk as they do so, which contradicts their desire to kill. If the British had wanted to murder these Germans all they had to do was abandon them in the water. Instead aboard a ship closed up at Action Stations crew are allowed to wander off to get coal and the Engine Room officers let men stroll in to take these precious lumps. Then these men break all Olympic records hurling these less than aerodynamic chunks with precision accuracy so that they hit someone in the water; sufficiently far away that Fürbringer had enough time to swim to at least two people before he’s pulled into a boat. Fürbringer is such a brilliant swimmer that he can go to them both, he has such regard for Loebell that he holds on, Fürbringer comes well out of this doesn’t he? Yet he has such disregard for his crew that he doesn’t report the incident to the Red Cross nor did he attempt to get a message to the German authorities. He doesn’t bring this up at the time, but leaves it for 15 years after the war ended.

I’ve not heard of Fürbringer; how many ships did he sink and how many people drowned as a result? Did you include them in those that you remembered during the 2 minutes silence? I did and also those who died from all horrors of war.

Black propaganda is always with us. I give more credence to the investigative powers and honesty of the intelligence officers than in a commander who says years later that these events happened, but did nothing at the time to protest. I have not said that either side were spotless, but I prefer to look for evidence rather than besmirch so many men.

Cheers Per Mare

BTW you only need to use the fast reply button, unless you need to quote from a post.

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Lightoller's autobiography is on linehttp://www.titanic-titanic.com/titanic_and_other_ships_44.shtml. The GARRY, having twice rammed U-110, was badly damaged and down by the bows. She did not take part in rescuing the crew of U-110.

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I’ve not heard of Fürbringer; how many ships did he sink and how many people drowned as a result? Did you include them in those that you remembered during the 2 minutes silence? I did and also those who died from all horrors of war.

I have not said that either side were spotless, but I prefer to look for evidence rather than besmirch so many men.

Cheers Per Mare

As far as I am concerned, during the 2 minutes slence and for always, I remember and honour all servicemen who fought and died for their country and especially my own personal friends who died in Malaya during the 1950s.

All wars and conflicts are terrible, but too many people died unnecessaraily on the the battlefields of WWI and the generals in charge on both sides were never held to account, the men were basically just gun-fodder.

Fürbringer:

On July 12th 1916, Fürbringer was commander of UB 39 and he took the boat right inshore at Seaham Harbour and fired 39 shells. The number of shells fired was in honour of his boat’s number. Sadly one of the shells killed Mary Slaughter from Hebburn-on-Tyne, who was visiting Seaham. The lady was out walking with her friend at the time. Fürbringer and his crew were supposedly aiming at the iron-works, which the Germans believed was producing armaments. However when the skipper observed the proximity to the town of Seaham and became aware of the devastation such an attack would cause, there is convincing evidence that the humane ‘Fips’ Fürbringer deliberately fired his symbolic barrage over, rather than at the town. The submarine then escaped on the surface.

(I have not yet researched all the vessels sunk by Fürbringer in UB 39 and the men lost, but between Fürbringer and Heinrich Küstner they sank 92 ships for a total of 86.537 tons, with 3 ships damaged for a total of 6.370 tons. – UB 38 was lost on 7 May, 1917, east of the Sandettie Bank at position 51.20N, 02.09E on about May 7, 1917. All 24 hands were lost)

SM UB 58:

After commissioning the boat, Werner Fürbringer left Kiel with UB 58 on 10th October 1917 and transferred Zeebrugge, where she arrived on the 15th, however two sailing vessels were sunk on the 13th during his first patrol and the transfer:

the 257-ton Norwegian BETHEL voyaging Holmestrand to West Hartlepool with pit props and the 830-ton Swedish barque ESMERALDA, which was transporting pit props from Holmestrand to the Tyne.

(Patrol 2) On 28 October 1917 UB 58 left port and sailed into the English Channel, but technical problems forced Fürbringer back to Zeebrugge on the 31st.

(Patrol 3) After departing Flanders on November 4th, UB 58 patrolled the English Channel as far as the Atlantic Ocean. Fürbringer sank one 116-ton sailing boat before returning to harbour on the 23rd.

(Patrol 4) December 1917 was more lucrative for Fürbringer when UB 58 patrolled the English Channel between the 12th & 28th and sank three steamships: the French SAINT ANDRE (Soc. Navale de l’Ouest, Le Havre), which was voyaging from Rouen to Algiers with empty casks on the 19th. On the 22nd, a torpedo struck the CLAN CAMERON (Cayzer, Irvine & Co., Glasgow) on the starboard side at 1130hrs and the explosion occurred in No.3 deep tank; the ship was transporting tea & jute from Chittagong to London & Dundee. The master ordered the stern gun fired to warn other shipping of the danger, but the commotion also brought a tug out to assist. At 1300hrs, the crew abandoned ship, while the tug stood by until other vessels arrived to help with the tow. However a second torpedo was fired and detonated in the engine room, sinking the ship soon after. The tug landed the crew at Plymouth. The Norwegian START (Aktieselskapet “Start”, Skien) was bound from Swansea to Rouen with coal, when Fürbringer torpedoed and sunk her soon after the CLAN CAMERON.

(Patrol 5) Leaving Zeebrugge on 17 January 1918, the skipper made his last patrol in UB 58 along the English Channel. He returned to Flanders on February 2nd 1918 after sinking two small British sailing boats.

After that patrol, Werner Fürbringer was given overdue medical leave and admitted to hospital in an exhausted state; however the skipper resented leaving his boat and his prevailing sense of foreboding was to prove all too correct. Oblt.z.S. Werner Löwe took over the command of UB 58 and he was lost with the entire crew on 10 March 1918,

Three weeks later U-Flottille wrote to tell him that UB 58 was missing, believed lost with all hands. Reading the letter, Fürbringer stated that he felt ‘part of him die and he was devastated. He said that he felt that somebody had stolen his boat and kidnapped the crew. At least half of the men had been with him from previous boats and he felt responsible for them. His steward, Matrose Tiede had been with the skipper since the very beginning and had even got married on the same day as Fürbringer. After leaving hospital Fürbringer was assigned to the new UBIII boat, UB 110.

(As far as I am aware, no people were killed by UB 58 in any of the above vessels).

On the July 16th 1918 and the second patrol with UB 110 and commander, Fürbringer torpedoed and sunk the steamship SOUTHBOROUGH (Hazelwood Shipping Co. Ltd.), 5-miles off Scarborough. She was in convoy and on passage from La Goulette via Dover for Middlesbrough with of iron ore. The torpedo detonated in her forward bunker on the starboard side at 1343hrs. The ship immediately took on a severe starboard list, before turning turtle and doing down to the bottom in a matter of minutes. Thirty people on board the steamer, which included Captain W.H. Eade and a pilot, were lost; eight survivors who went into the sea were picked up by an escort vessel and landed at Middlesbrough later that day.

Twenty-nine of those who died on the SS SOUTHBOROUGH, were:

Bayliss, William Fireman

Bonny, William 29yrs, Steward00

Buytaert, T. Able Seaman

Cameron, James Second Mate

Carroll, John Joseph 28yrs, Boatswain (Bosun)

Carse, James First Mate

Cocks, Charles William Pilot

Eade, W. H. Master

Finlayson, Malcolm Groat Sign RNVR (DEMS gunner)

Gigg, Percy Harold Oliber 27yrs, Trimmer

Hankins, J. Sailor

Hayes, Walter 25yrs, Chief Cook

Heazlewood, Charles Thomas 22yrs, 4th Engineer Officer

Hollywood, James Fireman

Hood, Alfred Robert Sailor

Lawson, John 28yrs, Donkeyman

Ledan, George Perry Third Engineer

Lind, Charles Frederick 39yrs, Fireman

McKeon, Andrew 49yrs, Fireman

McMaster, Donald 49yrs, Sailor

Pearce, Hy John Second Engineer

Power, Ernest 21yrs, Third Mate

Richard, Lazarus Assistant Cook

Smart, Henry Thomas 33yrs, Fireman

Stork, Wilfred John Sign RNVR (DEMS gunner)

Sykes, Harry Ldg Smn RNVR (DEMS gunner)

Thomas, Thomas Charles Chief Engineer

White, J. Fireman

Yeoman, Philip Randolph 27yrs, Able Seaman

On the 18th Fürbringer met up with Oblt.z.S. Dobberstein in UC 70 and at 1001hrs the following morning of July 19th, exchanged recognition signals with UB 77. After the meeting with UB 77 (Oblt.z.S. Maurer), Fürbringer moved to the north and was allegedly spotted on the surface, northeast of Whitby by an American aircraft and as UB 110 dived she was bombed; this was according to a letter from the pilot Ensign J.J. Schieffelin, which was written on January 9th 1966.

From there, Fürbringer continued north submerged for three hours and sighted a huge, southbound convoy off Hartlepool, consisting of about forty ships and protected by four destroyers, six RN motor launches, six armed trawlers, one Convoy Leader, a barrage balloon and three aircraft. Fürbringer took up position to launch a torpedo at the French coaster YOLANDE, but the periscope had been spotted:

‘Lt Chick RNR on ML263 one of the convoy escorts, slightly astern of the convoy on the port beam sighted a periscope 50 yards on the starboard bow. ML263 dropped two depth charges set for 100’. ML49 dropped 1 depth charge. 15 seconds later the submarine surfaced, her forward hydroplanes were possibly jammed. ML49 opened fire with machine gun and 3 pounder scoring hits on the conning tower and on the waterline, forward’

The escort destroyer HMS GARRY then rushed to the scene.

The British view - Log extract of HMS Garry 19/7/1918 - Lt.Cdr. Lightolller

‘10.45 - Sighted periscope on port side. Dropped 4 depth-charges

13.37 - Heard ML [263] sound 6 blasts

Full ahead, dropped 2 DC one at 150ft the other at 50ft.

Submarine broke surface 100 yards away off port bow.

Rammed sub at right angles and passed over him.

Sub again broke surface.

Turned, guns firing, 12 pounder and port. Waist gun hitting sub and rammed again,

tearing all superstructure open. Sub heeled over and sank.

Proceeded in direction of beach until damage was ascertained -

Down by the head, but not sinking’.

While the timing of these claims may elicit some scepticism, there is overwhelming evidence that something very unpleasant took place here. Records reveal that several of the survivors were evacuated to hospital suffering from gunshot wounds - though some of these wounds may have been inflicted as the crew was abandoning the U-boat. Charles Lightoller briefly described the destruction of UB 110 in his autobiography, ‘Titanic and other Vessels’. This is all he has to say of the German crew, ‘…I left the rescue work to the others, who picked up fifteen out of the water and then took stock of the damage we had sustained…’

As the British did not investigate the affair, readers must decide for themselves whether an atrocity took place. Friend and foe alike, regarded Fürbringer as a patriotic and highly professional naval officer; he was an honourable and humane man, not given to lying; nor was Fürbringer the only captured U-boat man to claim that atrocities had been committed by the British.

On August 2nd news was passed to the German authorities via the Red Cross, reporting that the boat had been sunk and her captain, watch officer and some of the crew were being held as prisoners.

After Fürbringer was made prisoner, he was taken to HMS SATELLITE at Jarrow and the local fisher-folk gave him a hard time on the way to the train station.

(In his book, Fürbringer also describes how Forster, one of the engine room hands, was brutally struck by a British PO as he attempted to scramble up the side of the destroyer of HMS GARRY.)

The men who died in UB 110: were:

Brenzel, U-Matrose

Burkhard, U-F.T.Gast

Eskerski. U-Matrose

Freifinger, U-Obermatrose

Ibele, U-F.T.Ober Anw

Ingenhaag, U-Maschinistenmaat

Iserhardt, U-Heizer

Jessberger, U-Heizer

Klein, U-Maschinistenmaat

Lüdtke, U-Matrose

Masuhr, U-Matrose

Merkle, U-Maschinistenmaat

Neuhäuser, U-Maschinistenmaat

Ollegott, U-Matrose

Oswald, U-Matrose

Ploen, Marine Ingenieur

Roosen, U-Heizer

Rosenblüh, U-Matrose

Santer, U-Heizer

Schmidt, U-Maschinistenmaat

Stein, U-Heizer

Strauss, U-Matrose

Träger, U-Heizer

Cheers Ron

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Its was not only the LLdovey Castle where survivors were fired on

When the Blucher was sunk and crew from the Lysander went out

to the rescue the survivors they, and the rescuers were bombed by the

enemy. This resulted in the rescue boats being called back to their ship.

I am so grateful to Stan and others who helped unravel the ship that I

thought started Chip: but on checking the dates I am sure it was the

Lysander, and the C was in fact a bracket as suggested. This has helped greatly.

Regards Margarette

Perhaps I'm misreading, but apparently the suggestion is that the Germans fired on British ships attempting to rescue survivors of the Blucher?

The case of the Llandovery Castle was one in which an act of piracy (the sinking of a marked and illuminated hospital ship) was to be concealed by the deliberate murder of all survivors. One lifeboat of survivors escaped.

The same sort of thing happened in the case of HMAS Sydney, with likely Japanese participation (before Dec. 7th, 1941)

This is not the same as acts of ill-discipline by individuals toward survivors; not that this "account" is believable anyway, for the reasons so ably stated above.

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Perhaps I'm misreading, but apparently the suggestion is that the Germans fired on British ships attempting to rescue survivors of the Blucher?

The case of the Llandovery Castle was one in which an act of piracy (the sinking of a marked and illuminated hospital ship) was to be concealed by the deliberate murder of all survivors. One lifeboat of survivors escaped.

The same sort of thing happened in the case of HMAS Sydney, with likely Japanese participation (before Dec. 7th, 1941)

This is not the same as acts of ill-discipline by individuals toward survivors; not that this "account" is believable anyway, for the reasons so ably stated above.

There is no evidence of atrocities in connection with the loss of HMAS SYDNEY and the Japanese were certainly not involved.

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  • 1 month later...
There is no evidence of atrocities in connection with the loss of HMAS SYDNEY and the Japanese were certainly not involved.

Suggest you (re)read "Who Sank the Sydney?", by Michael Montgomery.

Montgomery doesn't mention it, but there is a very good reason why the involvement of the Japanese in the sinking of the Sydney and the likely killing of her surviving crew was covered up on the Allied side: the highest circles in Britain and the USA knew that the Japanese were planning to attack the US, British & Dutch, but, as Churchill noted at the time, the greatest nightmare on the British and Australian side was that they might attack only the British and Australians, or attack and defeat them first, before attacking the US.

Had Japanese involvement in the Sydney leaked out, this 'timetable' might have been changed and that had to be avoided at all costs. Having covered the matter up once, it had to remain so, for how could the initial cover-up and the reasons for it be explained?

That's my theory anyway. B)

Now returning you to the war previously in progress...

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"there is a very good reason why the involvement of the Japanese in the sinking of the Sydney and the likely killing of her surviving crew was covered up on the Allied side: the highest circles in Britain and the USA knew that the Japanese were planning to attack the US, British & Dutch,"

I suggest that you are over 20 years out in your reasoning. In WWI the Japanese were Allies, had helped in the tracking and countering of Von Spee's squadron before it split, had cooperated in the attacks on German pacific bases. Their cooperation increased their profile so much that they had a seat at the various Naval conferences and gained benefits out of all proportion to what it would have been without being valued allies. Because they did not gain what they felt they they deserved, there was a greavence which contributed to their later attitudes. If they had wanted to attack the Australians US, British & Dutch in WWI they would have faced minimal opposition; that no one feared this is indicated by the lack of defences against such attacks.

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I suggest that you are over 20 years out in your reasoning.

Are you getting confused here between HMAS Sydney, launched 1912, paid off 1928, and HMAS Sydney , launched 1934, sunk 1941 — or is it me that doesn't understand ...?

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This is outside timelines but to clarify, there is no substance to the story of Japanese involvement in the sinking of the HMAS SYDNEY in November, 1941. Anyone interested in following this matter further should see "Bitter Victory" by W. Olsen, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, 2002.

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‘…I left the rescue work to the others, who picked up fifteen out of the water …’ Charles Lightoller

So the British were in such a murderous mood that they rescued 15? Then these 15 were treated supposedly so badly but not one of them reported it to the Red Cross or got word to the German authorities? If these atrocities had happened Fürbringer was negligent in his duties as Captain for not reporting to the correct authorities and it seems strange that 14 other people also didn't try to get the message out. We have one account, his, of this incident that is unverified by anyone else. People write autobiographies for all sorts of reasons and with varying degrees of accuracy; what you have failed to inform us was what was his relation to Karl Donitz and what did he do after writing the book?

"Fürbringer also describes how Forster, one of the engine room hands, was brutally struck by a British PO as he attempted to scramble up the side of the destroyer of HMS Garry" If this happened, then the man had attempted to board a vessel in danger of sinking and might have been repelled as a hostile. On what basis should he have been welcomed aboard the ship in the condition she was in? Forster was amongst the survivors so he was able to swim in and survive in the North Sea and get to another ship to be rescued by her, so he wasn't badly injured. The sub had been rammed, depth charged and machine gunned (with the possibility of ricochets inside) so ‘gunshot wounds’ were hardly unexpected.

“After Fürbringer was made prisoner, he was taken to HMS Satellite at Jarrow and the local fisher-folk gave him a hard time on the way to the train station.” This is hardly surprising given that he was a UBoat captain! What reaction would you expect him to receive? The Germans had made perfectly clear what they thought of anyone rescuing survivors in submarine warfare on 22 September 1914, the fact that the British continued to do so after that date, including the enemy was a testament to them and their humanity. In this incidence they put themselves at risk and rescued 15 of the enemy; if they wanted them dead they could have just left them in the water, just as the crews of Hogue. Abukir, Cressy had been and thousands of other Allied seamen were after UBoat attacks.

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if they wanted them dead they could have just left them in the water, just as the crews of Hogue. Abukir, Cressy had been and thousands of other Allied seamen were after UBoat attacks.

Weddigen, with one small U-boat, can hardly be blamed for not trying to rescue the crews of three cruisers ...

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Weddigen, with one small U-boat, can hardly be blamed for not trying to rescue the crews of three cruisers ...

But he can be blamed for sinking ships in the corse of a rescue. From that point on all RN ships crews knew that if they stopped to rescue stranded seamen that they were in danger of being sunk and Captains knew that they were putting their lives, ships, men and careers in danger if they engaged in rescue work.

This is one of the main difficulties that I have with Fürbringer's account: there were other UBoats in the area yet the RN ships rescued 15 of the crew. The captains knew that they were putting their ships in danger to perform the rescue, the seamen aboard those ships knew that they were all putting their lives in danger to rescue this men; so what is thir motivation to shoot them in the water? It also argues for discipline so lax that the Captains would constantly be repremanded as that laxity would show on other occasions. This is apart from the amount of witnesses and conspacy of silence that would be needed to hush it up.

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This article is from 'The Kentish Gazette And Canterbury Press' of 22nd February 1915. It can be seen in Canterbury Library. I hope you may find it useful.

'STURRY MAN DESCRIBES THE SINKING OF THE "BLUCHER."

Able-Seaman William Foulkes, of H.M.S. Indomitable, who was home on a short leave this week, told an interesting account of the sinking of the Blucher to his parents, who reside at Sturry, near Canterbury. Seaman Foulkes, who is not yet 19 years of age, entered the Navy three years ago. Before the commencement of the war his ship was stationed in the Straits. Here is the story as Seaman Foulkes tells it:-

"We left harbour on the Saturday and steamed full speed into the North Sea. We did not think that an action was likely to take place, because there had been rumours before which had not come to anything. On Sunday morning we sighted the enemy steaming towards our coast and, of course you know, we gave chase, but they turned tail and steamed towards their own harbour. We gained on them, and we had not be [sic] at our stations long when the front ship of our line opened fire at extreme range. The enemy did not reply at once but waited until we got much closer then; they commenced to open fire and you bet so did we. The enemy's range at first was very good but they could not keep it. We had not been in action long before one of their ships was seen to be on fire, and then the Blucher fell out of line and my ship had to finish her off. We gave her a few shots at first but she did not reply, so we ceased fire. The men came up to see what she was like and then she opened fire on us again, and you may depend we gave her a few more. The destroyers went alongside of her and one of them put a torpedo into her, a terrific explosion took place, and the Blucher sank very quickly, leaving only the top of her masts visible. All this time the other ships of our line were pursuing the enemy's and another of their ships was seen to be on fire, but at last we had to give up the chase because we were closing on their mine fields and were in danger. Altogether the action lasted about 3 1/2 hours. During the action the Lion had been struck and had to leave the firing line. When the enemy's ships were lost to view we altered our course to find the Lion, as she had been lost to view for awhile, but we soon found her making slow speed, so my ship took her in tow and brought her safely into harbour. It was hard work and very dangerous, as the enemy's submarines were undoubtedly about, but we managed it alright. As we came into harbour the other ships cheered us heartily. During the engagement we sighted some Zeppelins, but we were too far away to open fire on them."

Seaman Foulkes had previously seen active service in the bombardment of the Dardanelles, where, he said, the English ships did a good deal of damage. The Seaman related that he found another man from Sturry who had been quite close to him on H.M.S. Africa, but said he did not know it until he received a copy of the Kentish Gazette which had been sent to him, and which contained the Roll of Honour of Sturry. "And you bet I soon found him out then," concluded the happy-go-lucky Jack Tar.'

Kind Regards,

Steve Garnett

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