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Caught Unawares in the Atlantic

by BBC Radio Norfolk Action Desk

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Archive List > Royal Navy

Contributed by 
BBC Radio Norfolk Action Desk
People in story: 
Thomas William Cook
Location of story: 
Atlantic
Background to story: 
Royal Navy
Article ID: 
A6592142
Contributed on: 
01 November 2005

This contribution to BBC People’s War website was provided to Tracey Gray a Volunteer Story Gatherer from the BBC Radio Norfolk Action Desk at an Event organised by the Norwich, Norfolk and Suffolk Pensioner’s Association. The story has been written and submitted to the website with the permission and on behalf of Thomas William Cook.

I served on a River Class Frigate, mostly on convoy duty in the Atlantic. As more were built, we became support groups working between the convoys and going to the aid of any being attacked.

One afternoon at about 3pm, we found a U Boat just below the surface waiting for a convoy. A pattern of depth charges brought it to the surface. We stopped to pick up its Captain and 45 of its crew, by lowering scrambling nets over the side. The U Boat captain on reaching the top proclaimed in perfect English that “we had caught him unawares“. The officer in charge of the rescue, in his eagerness to apologize for such a grave mistake, managed to stand on both hands of the U Boat captain who fell back into the sea. This time he came up last with new complaint. Though he did receive attention from the ships doctor to his damaged hands.

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