World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

                                           Ken Hoult

Lest I Forget

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Ken Hoult
Location of story: South Of France
Unit name: 666 Artisan Works Company Royal Engineers.


                                           Lest I forget
By
Ken Hoult

On the 65th anniversary of the greatest single loss of life in Maritime history, it is time for me to reflect on the tragedy because I was there.

The S.S. Lancastria had been commandeered as a troop carrier and became known as H.M.T. Lancastria. In 1940, she took part in the Evacuation of Norway and took military personnel to Iceland, to prevent its occupation by the Germans. Its next task was to help in the evacuation of Civilian & Military personnel from St Nazaire, our unit being one of those to be evacuated.

Call it fate, or what you will, but I think our unit had a charmed life. We were working on building ammunition dumps in the Forest Le Gare near the village of Blaine, when our C.O. had orders to ‘evacuate’ or ‘retreat’.

We started out from Blaine on the 16th of June on ‘borrowed’ transport, and slept overnight in a field outside St. Nazaire. According to my autograph book, on the morning of the 17th, we said farewell to our interpreter who was given the C.O.’s staff, car suitably filled with petrol. Whilst the loading of the staff car was taking place, my Section Officer was negotiating with the C.O. for himself, a sergeant and one Sapper Hoult to be taken back to the Forest, to destroy the dumps, then travel with the interpreter to the south of France.

The rest of the unit had moved off onto the St. Nazaire esplanade, where other troops paraded and then marched off to be taken out to ships waiting outside the harbour. It was in the afternoon that the Section Officer had to obey orders, and we joined the unit and boarded the Destroyer H.M.S. Highlander, packed like sardines. As the ship moved out to sea, a big cloud of black smoke dominated the horizon.

One of the sailors said, “That’s the Lancastria.” Since that time, 3.57 p.m. on the 17th of June, I have said many times, “There but for the grace of God go I,” and still I reflect on what might have been. We were put on a coal boat, The City Of Mobile, and took no part in the rescue operation.

It was several years after the event before I realised the enormity of the tragedy involving the Lancastria. Winston Churchill refused to let the facts be made known to the public, and it is only in recent years, thanks to the H.M.T. Lancastria Association that some facts have been made known. No accurate record of lives lost is available, but it is estimated that up to 9,000 souls were on board at the time of the bombing; it is estimated that 5,000 men lost their lives.

In recent years, I have written to the local paper reminding readers of the disaster, and after good publicity, I visited Ron Goodyear who was on the Lancastria’s penultimate voyage to Iceland. From a photograph that he took, and the photos taken by Sailor Clements on the Highlander, I have made the montage, which is a very small dedication to the Lancastria and those who lost their lives.

I was in Iceland at the time of the great man’s visit, providing shore facilities for the North Atlantic fleets of the U.S.A and Great Britain, in a large Icelandic fjord. At the time of this visit, in port was the H.M.S. Ramallies and Mr. Churchill did the honours of making a speech on the quarterdeck, which could be heard ashore. All I can say is, I only wish tape recorders had been invented.

After all these years, I look back and hope that my story in the People’s War will shed a little light on the forgotten tragedy.


Pr-BR

 

Spared By The Skin Of My Teeth...

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Ken Hoult....L/Cp J.K.W. Hoult R.E.
Location of story: St Nazaire, France
Unit name: 666 A.W. Company Royal Engineers

I could have ended my Second World War at the bottom of the sea, which is why I spent a little time at 3.57 on June the 17th, 2004, remembering events of 64 years ‘ago’. Despite tempting fate by being a member of the ominously name 666 AW Company Royal Engineers, at the age of 21, I was leading an enchanted life.
It was by a sheer chance that my unit failed to be on the doomed ship, the Lancastria off St Nazaire, France, when it was bombed by the Germans at that time on June the 17th, 1940.

It was Britain’s biggest ever nautical disaster. The Cunard liner was carrying between 6,000 and 9,000 evacuated servicemen, but only 2,500 of them survived.

My unit and I, attached to the 159 Railway Royal Engineers, were building an ammunition dump near Le Mans when they were ordered to evacuate. We blew everything up except the staff car, which we presented to our interpreter.

The men were lined up ready to be evacuated by the Lancastria, but my commanding officer refused to leave until all the men were together. That saved our lives. Why were we not ready to go? Some of us wanted to infiltrate behind enemy lines, but the C.O. wouldn’t let us.
Actually, it was the Highlander which evacuated us, but as the ship moved out to sea, a big cloud of black smoke dominated the horizon.

One of the sailors said, “That’s the Lancastria.” I thought, “There but for the grace of God go I.” In fact, I went onto the coal ship, the City Of Mobile which took me back to Plymouth whilst the Highlander engaged in the rescue attempts.

It was several years after the event before I realised the enormity of the tragedy involving the Lancastria. Churchill refused to let the facts be made publicly known for fear of denting spirits.

My unit spent some time in Iceland, building Reykjavik airport and the naval base. We only lost one man. I am grateful to this day that I was only a witness.


PR-BR

 

The Day War Broke Out

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Ken Hoult...........L/cp 1908893 J.K.W. Hoult R.E.
Location of story: Sheffield
Unit name: 666 A.W. Company Royal Engineers

 


This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Ken Hoult.
============================================

The day war broke out-that’s quite a good way to start things that, at the time, were serious, but now, can be laughed about.

When Neville Chamberlain was declaring war, I was building air raid shelters and first aid posts in various villages in Derbyshire. In the evening, after going to church, I took my sweetheart home amid the great activity of fixing blackouts. While this work was going on, the next-door neighbour came, and the first thing he said was, “PUT THAT FIRE OUT!! Enemy planes will see it!” This got the war off to a good start.

HELLO, HELLO, HELLO.

In 1943, we were stationed at the Royal Engineers’ depot at Long Marston, near Stratford-upon-Avon. It is a village that had no bus services, but did have a railway station. My parents sent me my bicycle so that I could get to the wonderful Cotswold villages of Broadway, Honeythorne etc. To get into Stratford, we could either use the army transport that had been provided, or we could catch the train.

One night in the autumn, I had been out to one of the villages by bicycle. I was returning to camp in the dark, when I was stopped by the village policeman. “Hello, hello, hello etc……….” He’d stopped me because my bike was showing too much light. Yes, for displaying a light some two inches in diameter, I had been summoned for a breach of the blackout regulations. The summons was duly received at company H.Q. I was called into the office and taken before the C.O. who could not stop laughing. The final outcome was that the summons was returned to the Magistrates’ Court saying, “L/cp Hoult has been posted overseas.” I only wish that a copy of the summons had been kept because that was one for the archives.

YOU CAN'T BORROW A STEAMROLLER?

Whilst at Long Marston, I was loaned out to construct a sewage works at an ammunition depot at Kineton, because the village system was being overloaded. As it was being completed, we had to construct a road for access. The Colonel in charge was very pleased with the work, but said the road required rolling. Silly fool me; I said, “What about the steam roller at Long Marston?” The rest is unbelievable; in no time at all, the Colonel and I were transported to Long Marston. As far as I’m aware, no one was asked if we could borrow it. We watered and fired it, and the next thing, with the colonel at the wheel, we were coming out of the gates of the camp with the guard at salute. It’s about ten miles from Kineton to Long Marston. It was much later in my life that I was reminded of the incident, when I was working for Derbyshire County Council. An architect, Percy Tilley, was an Officer in the Royal Engineers who was at the Kineton Depot at the time. He knew of the incident, but none of the collaborators.

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The Full Circle

By actiondesksheffield

People in story: L/cp JKW Hoult Royal Engineer- Nancy Hoult
Location of story: Harrogate - Southampton
Unit name: 666 Artisan Works Company Royal Engineers
Background to story: Royal Navy

 


This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Ken Hoult.


The royal Mint has just struck a $25.00 silver, gold plated coin to commemorate the Supermarine Spitfire designed by R.J. Mitchell.

Why the full circle?

In the BBC People’s War story, ‘The Tale of Two Rings’, located at A3834173, I told of the story of my engagement to my Sweetheart, Nancy, in December of 1941. On the 14th of October, 1942, we were married under wartime conditions, and Nancy and I had a three-day honeymoon in Harrogate. This is a story in itself.

When we arrived at Harrogate by train, we had our first quarrel on the station forecourt. The story goes:-

Ken............................... “Have you got the letter from the hotel?”
Nancy........................... “You’ve got it.”
Ken............................... “No, you had it.”

Neither of us had a clue as to the name of the hotel we had booked into. The only thing we remember was that the road that it was on had a name similar to that of the film star, Jean Harlow..................Harlow Carr Road.

We went to the first hotel that we saw in that road, and to this day, we never knew if it was the right hotel. More trouble ensued the following morning. The 15th of October was Nancy’s birthday and all the relations, unknown to me, had put their cards in Nancy’s suitcase. Quarrel Number 2, Ken had forgotten to pack a birthday card.

Back to ‘The Circle’, the local cinema was showing the film, ‘The First Of The Few’ starring Leslie Howard as R.J. Mitchell who designed the Spitfire, which along with the Hurricane, saved Britain from defeat in the early years of the war. To me and my generation, these were the two finest aircraft ever built, the Spitfire being in pole position.

It was in the early part of 1944 that I was attached to the Royal Navy in a shore station called H.M.S. Abatos.

H.M.S. Abatos was formally the Supermarine Building at Woollaton on Southampton Waters, where R.J. Mitchell did the early designs of the Supermarine Sea Planes. This led to the design of the Spitfire, which first flew in 1936. In the 30’s, there was a contest for the Schneider Trophy which was won by the Supermarine at 328.63 M.P.H. and for many years was displayed on the terminal building of Heathrow Airport

Jimmy Archibold and I were two Royal Engineers, billeted for accommodation and food in a shore station manned by Wren’s. Wren’s Rose Warren and Daphne Franklin were the two cooks who kept us fed and watered. Think of the outcry under other circumstances; this was wartime.

H.M.S. Abatos was the assembly point for equipment to be used on the second front to transport petrol from the Isle of Wight to France and the rest of Europe, after it had been recaptured from the Germans. The operation was called P.L.U.T.O. – petrol line under the ocean – and like the Spitfire, was a huge success. Some of this petrol was used to service the Spitfires, which were designed in the early 30’s, in the same building as part of the operation for the Invasion of Europe was planned. It’s a very small world and I am proud to have been a very small cog in that ‘wheel’.

Pr-BR

 

The Tale Of Two Rings

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Ken Hoult..........L/Cp 1908893 J.K.W. Hoult R.E.
Location of story: Sheffield
Unit name: 666 A.W. Company Royal Engineers

 


This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Ken Hoult.
============================================

I came home on leave in 1941 and we became engaged. I bought my Nancy an engagement ring and I had a signet ring. I went back to Iceland on Cloud Nine. Nancy carried on working in the High Class old-fashioned grocery shop. We exchanged letters, as was normal, but no mention of the incident, which happened to both of us concerning the rings.

Nancy first: whilst serving a customer with loose biscuits from a large square tin, the ring fell into the bag. Panic reigned for most of the day until the lady came back and said to Nancy, “Is this yours?” Great relief all round.

I went swimming in an inlet down the fiord, which was tidal. When I got back to the camp, the ring was missing. For three days, I visited the spot looking for the ring, but to no avail. On the fourth day it was pouring with rain and I was at panic stations, but I persevered and the rain came to my aid. There, shining in all its glory was the ring, to my great relief. It was not until I returned to the UK that these two incidents became known. They were a topic of conversation until Nancy sadly died in 2002. Nancy’s ring had a sad ending; it was chewed up by a mower on the bowling green. All was not lost however, I purchased a new ring at a much greater cost than the original, but she was worth it.

IT IS, IT ISN'T

Whilst in Iceland, I had occasion to go to the new airfield that was being constructed just after it became useable. I was walking alongside one of the runways and watching a plane come in, it was larger than a Tiger Moth but had two open cockpits. It caused me to do a double take as the gentleman in the rear cockpit, in a flying helmet was none other than Mikhailovich Molotov, the foreign minister of the USSR and famous for the Molotov Cocktail. I did not have time to get his autograph; it all happened in seconds.


PR-BR

 

War Time Journey

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Ken Hoult L/cp J.K.W. Hoult Royal Engineers.
Location of story: England
Unit name: 666 Artisan Works Company, Royal Engineers
Background to story: Army

On Leave June 1940. Little Morton Road, North Wingfield, Derbyshire. Ted, Grandma, Mum, Nancy, Brother Jeff and Dad.

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Ken Hoult.

Having obtained the War Diaries of my Unit, I can now piece together a Train Journey taken in 1940 when the whole of the railway system had been put on a War footing. The journey was from Southampton Docks to Leeds L.M.S. Station, and was done without changing trains and it covered the 4 pre war railway systems. For the uninitiated :- S.R = Southern Railway L.N.E.R. London North Eastern Railway L.M.S London Midland & Scottish Railway. G.C Great Central Railway, which ran from Liverpool to London (Marylebone) and was part of the L.N.E.R. Having started from St Nazaire on 17th June 1940, (which was the date the H.M.T Lancastria was bombed, with the loss of 5000 plus lives), on a boat named The City of Mobile, we docked at Southampton at 8.OOam on the 21st of June. We disembarked at IO.OOam and assembled in one of the sheds on the dockside, which incidentally was the same shed from which we embarked to France in February 1940 After we disembarked, the time was spent having a wash and brush up and having our first substantial meal for 5 days. Then there was a rush to the phone boxes to send telegrams, which cost one penny per word including the address. My address does cause an argument with the operator. I always use the minimum letters for the address which was Hoult North Wingfield. The operators always said that will never find them and my reply was, "You do not know our village." It is a red letter day when the Post Office receives a telegram and the whole village will know before the recipient.

On with the journey: At 14.45pm we left by special train from Southampton Docks, as far as we Other Rank's were concerned, to an unknown destination. After we had travelled through Winchester, Basingstoke and were approaching Clapham Junction, it became known that our destination was Leeds. From Clapham Junction thro' London was unknown territory as we bypassed all the London Main line stations, travelling through goods yards and non passenger lines from South to North London at some point, joining the L N E R Railway and travelling through all stations to Nottingham Victoria. It then followed the line of the G C Railway which in peace time, ran to Liverpool, thro' Worksop, Tibshelf, Heath, Staveley and on to Sheffield. The section between Tibshelf and Heath was the most important part of the journey for me as it passed the village of North Wingfield, which was my home. I could see my home and was tempted, had the train slowed down, to jump off. Being mid summer's day, viewing was perfect and in one of the fields below was the Rector of our village taking a stroll. The only thing I had on me was a towel with my name on it and with great haste, I threw it out and I found out later that my family knew I was safe in the North of England. The journey continued to Sheffield, past the Steelworks in the East End, working to full capacity, then on to the L.M.S. line to Leeds City Station. According to the diary we arrived at 0.30am on 22nd of June, and marched across the road to the Town Hall.

The 'night' was spent sleeping on the concert platform. Our sleep was disturbed at about 7.00am by the sound of the mighty Father Willis Organ playing music well known to me as 'Rubinstein's Melody in F', by my friend Sapper Cliff Southall. The surprise was that we knew he could play the piano, but his standard of playing the Organ was outstanding and without any music. Good old Cliff. 23rd of June was spent being taken to the Roundhay Park area of Leeds and being found a billet with the residents. I was taken in by the Rodd Family at 7 Shaftesbury Road, Leeds 8 25th June, I was sent on 48hours leave and because my pal Ted Caudwell could not get to his home in London, I took him with me and here is the photograph to prove it. I must have taken the photo on a Sunday, as my family and Nancy, my wife to be, were in their Sunday best................ Pr-BR

 

Reflections

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Ken Hoult......L/Cp 1908893 J.K.W. Hoult R.E.
Location of story: Sheffield
Unit name: 666 Artisan Works Company Royal Engineers


This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Ken Hoult.

============================================

Now that I am in my twilight years, I am fortunate in that I am able to reflect on my eventful life.

I was brought up in a farming community in the Clay Cross area; I left school at the age of fourteen and although my parents had other plans for me, I nevertheless became a bricklayer. In 1938, I had to sign on as a Militia boy and was called up in January 1940.

I joined 666 Artisan Works Company Royal Engineers and by the end of February, we were with the B.E.F. in France. We didn’t know about Dunkirk, but in June 1940, we were evacuated from the port of St. Nazaire by a destroyer, the H.M.S. Highlander, and were to board the H.M.T. Lancastria. However, from the crowded deck of the destroyer, we saw The Lancastria bombed. We were hastily moved onto a coal boat, The City Of Mobile, after which we took no further action in the rescue operation.

Our next port of call was Plymouth from where we collected food. From there, we went to Southampton, where we boarded a train to Leeds. Our ‘billet’ for the night was the concert hall section of the Leeds Town Hall, although we used to say that we’d slept on the steps of the Town Hall. Reveille was sounded by my friend, Sapper Cliff Southall, at the console of the large concert organ; he played a beautiful piece of music, the “Rubinstein Melody In F.”

It was a considerable time later that I discovered that we had witnessed, in the bombing of the Lancastria, the worst maritime disaster in history, as 5,000 lives had been lost in just 20 minutes. This fact has never been published in the history books and it was not until the Lancastria Association was formed in the 1980s, that this disaster became public knowledge. Winston Churchill forbade any official publication of this incident and the Public Records Office will not release any documentation relating to it, until 2040.

After being re-equipped for Arctic weather, we were dispatched on the H.M.T. Georgic, along with the cross channel boat Konigam Emma, and escorted by the cruisers, H.M.S. Norfolk and Suffolk, to Iceland. These vessels later became famous for their involvement in the sinking of the Bismarck.

Our objective in Iceland was the construction of a Naval Base in a very large fiord called Hvalfjiordur, which became part of history in the Battle of the North Atlantic.

Many famous warships visited the fiord and the Officers and Ratings would come ashore to stretch their legs and socialise in the Naval Canteen and billets. They would reciprocate our hospitality by allowing us to see what life was like on board their ships. Sometimes, friends and relatives would turn up and if their shore leave was 24 hours or more, we would arrange transport into Reykjavik.

Protection of the fleet whilst in the fiord was paramount, therefore the entrance to it was protected by a controlled minefield. It was operated by the Navy from a building on shore. Following a severe storm, the ships dragged their anchors and considerable damage ensued, including some to the building that was protecting the controls of the minefield, putting it out of action.

We were not a very popular bunch of engineers because while the repairs were going on, the Station Commanders posted a destroyer each side of the minefield. The captains described us using unprintable terminology, but it basically meant that we were the lowest form of life. The work took about four days and it was done in below zero temperatures.

Before we could start the air compressor we had to start a fire under it to warm up the oil. The repairs were done against all odds and weather conditions; all the station log said afterwards was, “Minefield back in action.” Although the Royal Navy was the senior service, there were times when they could not do without the Royal Engineers.

One good thing that came from this episode was that the station had better wireless reception, and in the evenings, they tuned in to the B.B.C. Home Service. That was the first time I had heard the “Force’s Sweetheart,” Vera Lynne. Life was not all doom and gloom.

I talk with pride of my time at the Naval Station; it helped to piece together some of the ships that have made their mark:-

H.M.S. Cossack of the Altmarck incident in a Norwegian Fiord. This made a name for its Captain and it became folklore among the Merchant Navy. Captain Vian has earned his place among the Naval heroes because at the time, Norway was a neutral country and the Captain should not have breached the country’s neutrality.

H.M.S. Hood had been in port a couple of weeks before she was sunk and we played against her crew at football.

H.M.S. Prince of Wales, when it came in after the Bismarck incident. A Padre came to our jetty and said, “Can you row me over to the Prince of Wales, she has no boats?”

H.M.S. Bulldog, famous for capturing the Enigma code machine from U-boat 110, was a frequent visitor, her distinguishing feature being a chequered flag painted on the stern.

H.M.S. Victorious, the aircraft carrier, came in at the same time an American carrier U.S.S. Wasp, a ‘flat top’, was in port. Some of the sailors from the Wasp were on shore, and some of their comments such as, “Gee wiz, what’s this kid?” were often heard. My comment was, “What a beauty!”

One of the Americans’ casualties in early 1941 was to a destroyer, U.S.S. Reuben James which had been patrolling off Iceland and was damaged by a U-boat, it was secured to a British Destroyer and brought into the fiord for repairs. It later saw service in the Pacific with distinction.

For the remainder of the story, I am indebted to Ron Goodyear who served in the Duke Of Wellington’s Regiment, which had been transported to Iceland on the H.M.T. Lancastria, in May 1940, her penultimate journey.

In 1940, Winston Spencer Churchill visited Newfoundland on board the H.M.S Prince Of Wales, to meet President Roosevelt. On his return, he visited troops in Iceland. In addition to inspecting the troops in Reykjavik, , he made a speech on board H.M.S. Ramallies. This we heard on shore and to this day, I say, “I wish tape recorders had been invented.”

In a photograph from Ron’s collection, and by courtesy of the Lancastria Association, I have made a montage of the visit and the Lancastria’s tragic end.

Following the Prime Minister’s visit to Newfoundland, shipping activity from the U.S.A. increased in the fiord. In my autograph book, I have an entry dated August 11th, 1941 which reads: “George H Price 4th Division U.S.S. Mississippi, Your American Sailor Friend.” I also transported sailors into Reykjavik from the aircraft carrier, U.S.S Wasp. I believe this is sufficient proof that the U.S.A. was involved in WWII long before Pearl Harbor.

Living in a remote area of Iceland, we always had to consider the weather. In summer, it is light for 24 hours a day and in winter, there is only 2 hours daylight except on clear frosty nights. The phenomenon of the Northern Lights, (the Aurora Borealis) with its changing colours, was a sight to behold.

Returning to Great Britain, we were part of the team that experimented with P.L.U.T.O. (Petrol Line Under The Ocean) and leading up to the invasion, I was privileged to be stationed with the navy in H.M.S. Abatos, a shore station adjacent to Southampton Waters. This was the building in which R.J. Mitchell did the design work for the Spitfire. Our part in the invasion of Europe did not start until 40 days after the invasion had commenced and the under water pipeline had been completed from the Isle of Wight to Cherbourg. From storage tanks, near Cherbourg, we laid two pipelines alongside the roads and through the plantation to storage tanks near Rouen and on to the Dutch border.

When hostilities were coming to a close, we carried out garrison duties. It was fitting that on the days before V.E. day, we were stationed in Le Touquet. This was where my grandfather, Col/Sgt John Hoult died from his wounds on the 14th of May, 1915, in W.W.I. He was buried in a War Cemetery in the adjacent village of Paris Plage. I was Guard Commander on the eve of V.E. Day, and on V.E. Day, I was able to visit the cemetery and pay respects at the grave of my grandfather whom I have never known; only seen in photographs.

By L/Cp 1908893 J.K.W. Hoult R.E.


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The Whole truth

By actiondesksheffield

People in story: Ken Hoult L/Cp 1908893 JKW Hoult RE
Location of story: Iceland
Unit name: 666 Artisan Works Company Royal Engineers
Background to story: Royal Navy


This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk.
==================================================

In August 1941, our unit was constructing the shore facilities for the Naval Base in
Hvalfjordur Iceland. Comings and goings were commonplace, but we on shore were
alert to strange happenings on the water. From the mouth of the Fiord came a German
U-boat being towed by an armed trawler. Bush telegraph soon established that it was
a submarine that had been captured by a Hudson Aircraft.

The U-boat was moored alongside the depot ship H M S Hecla. The first day the base
was alive with rumours as to what equipment it was carrying. It was about that time
we were privileged to the fact that H M S Bulldog had captured some secret
equipment from U-boat 110, which later became known as the Enigma Coding
Machine.

The next day, a Hudson Aircraft came at low level over Hecla and with his Aldis
Lamp, signaled, "This ****** is mine."

The U570 created a lot of interest; even I a humble L/Cp made an excuse to go aboard
Hecla. One of our air compressors had broken down and the engineers on the Depot ship were very good at making spare parts. That's my story and I am sticking to it. I can say I have stood on U-570.

It is now well documented that U570 became H M S Graph and although much information was gained from its capture, no Enigma machine was found.

In 2002 a furore was caused when Hollywood made a Film, U571. The film portrayed
the Americans as having captured the Enigma Coding Machine, which was a distortion
of the true facts. There was a U571 but it was never captured and saw service with the
German Navy until 1944. Words are still been bandied about: "U571 Lies! Damn Lies.”

Tony Blair made comments in the House of Commons and said the film U571 made a
mockery of British history. I had a letter published in the Daily Mail pointing out the
error of the filmmakers’ ways.

I tell this story so that in years to come, whoever reads this will understand that the
Americans had nothing to do with the capture of U570 and the film U571 was pure
fiction.

I and many more, had a grandstand view of “the whole truth.”


Pr-BR