The following I have reprinted from my father files regarding the surrender at the end of World War 11. of a German U boat “U 889” of the coast of Nova Scotia.
From….. The Commanding Officer S 392.
Date….. 22nd May 1945.
To…… The British Submarine Officer – Philadelphia
The Surrender of U 889
The following is a brief summary of the surrender of “U 889”. A full report of the capture and the interrogation of prisoners is held at N.S.H.Q. Ottawa.
I proceeded to Shelburne in Nova Scotia by Staff Car to join Lieutenant Pope R.N.R. who was waiting for “U 889” to arrive in the harbour. Lieutenant Pope had made the necessary boarding arrangements, having with him Chief ERA, one LTO, and Leading Stoker and one Leading Seaman. It was most fortunate that Chief ERA Crooks had been in the “Graph” so he had a very good idea of the anticipated layout. In addition to the submarine boarding party were one officer, an expert on mines, demolition and booby traps and four giants from the Canadian Patrolman.
We proceeded in an ML (motor launch) to a position about 20 miles from the harbour in company with three other ML’s, a tug and a harbour craft. when we rendezvoused with “U 889” two frigates and a large proportion of the Royal Canadian Air Force were present. The ML’s were for the press and photographic experts, one for prisoners and the other to stand by in case of an emergency.
Captain Miles R.C.N. was present to take over the official surrender. He boarded first and with the aid of an interpreter, Lieutenant Davidson, asked whether he was ready to surrender. “Yes” was the answer. The boarding party went below, announcing the submarine safe after a 54 minute investigation. The Captain was willing to steam “U 889” into harbour so we left him with half his crew. The men who were leaving were separated into different parts of the ML: Officers, Petty Officers and Ratings. Only two members turned to their Captain with the raised arm to utter “Heil Mein Capitain”. They were quickly told not to be so stupid and were quietly moved aboard the ML. Men were stationed at the tubes and tube firing gear in case of evil intentions by a member of the crew. There was no trouble and they carried on their work quietly and efficiently as though nothing unusual was taking place.
The submarine started immediately the order was given, keeping very good station astern of a frigate proceeding at 12 knots. The Engineer Officer, who could speak a little English, started to show Chief ERA Crooks the various systems throughout the submarine. Two hours later when the “U 889” was secured to a buoy, the remaining members of the crew were taken away with the exception of the Captain, Engineer Officer and Petty Officer Telegraphist.
The Captain was very willing to talk and in fact wanted to show how everything worked to the extent of choosing 10 of his crew assisted by some of our submarine ratings to run as an Anti Submarine target, until he considered it safe for us to operate alone. During the interrogation he offered us Three Star Hennessy Brandy and the very best German Lager. It was difficult to prevent the interrogation from developing into a wonderful party, especially when the PO Tel produced chipped potatoes of a kind that are so famous at H.M.S. Dolphin. Later the pangs of hunger were felt so the Captain ordered food. Excellent ham, tongue, smoked bacon, salami fresh bread and the very best Danish butter. To the end of the meal we had biscuits Chocolate and coffee. There was not a single Ersatz foodstuff on board. The pressed meat salami was very pleasant but its flavour stayed with me for 24 hours, rather longer than it deserved.
The Captain, Lieutenant Commander Braucker was just 26 years old. A Nazi, as he said that all Germans are Nazis, however he was not of the arrogant type. He had no idea that horror existed. We did not stay too long on that subject as he was giving such excellent information we did not want him to get worked up or upset. It appeared that the propaganda stories that he had been filled with accounted for his very high moral and state of confidence. He was convinced that if the army had held out for another two months, the U boats would have sunk all shipping crossing the Atlantic and the English Channel. He stated that we were sinking one U boat a month but February had been a bad period as we had destroyed two. During the interrogation he was explaining that after he had received the surrender order four frigates approached him, one from each quarter, and he could have had them all with one salvo. Due to the slight misunderstanding in the interpretation he was asked why he did not sink them. He replied with a look of horror on his face, that the Donitz (German Admiral) had informed him of the total surrender ordering them to comply and did he want another 3 million Germans killed for his act.
A full report is being forwarded when information of the equipment and its operation is understood.
During the short time I spent on board the following points seemed to hold my attention:-
1 – The excellent state of health, in spite of the fact that they had remained dived for a month. This may be due to the sun ray treatment.
2 – Anti feather device on the perIscope
3 – Simple communication system
4 – Schnorkel
5 – The accuracy of the bearing of HE.
Lieutenant in Command