RCN ships tried to capture U-boat after prison break

You might think the following events took place in an elaborate spy novel.

But they actually happened.

In the fall of 1943, German U-boat captains attempting to escape from a prisoner of war (POW) camp in Ontario led the RCMP directly to a rendezvous site on the northern shore of New Brunswick.

Warships of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), under the command of Lieutenant-Commander (LCdr) Desmond Piers, waited quietly nearby for a U-boat to surface and attempt rescue of its compatriots.

German U-boats were the scourge of the ocean. As the Battle of the Atlantic raged during the Second World War over 75 years ago, they prowled the depths, attempting to sink Allied convoys bound for Europe with supplies.

Four German U-boat captains had been captured after battles, including the ace of the U-boat fleet, Otto Kretschmer, who had sunk more than 208,000 tons of allied shipping.

Called the “Atlantic Wolf” for his successes, his reign of terror came to an end in March 1941 when his U-boat was sunk southeast of Iceland.

Three other submarine captains, Horst Elfe, Hans Ey and Hans Joachim Knebel-Döberitz, were also captured, and all four were sent to Camp 30, a POW camp in Bowmanville, Ont.

Camp 30, unlike most prison camps, was not really a hardship. It had lots of things that others lacked such as an indoor pool, athletic complex, soccer and football fields. Meals were good and prisoners had access to medical and dental care. They could send and receive mail from home, and they…

Continue Reading This Article At The Canadian Armed Forces Website


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