- Contributed by
- BBC Cumbria Volunteer Story Gatherers
- People in story:
- Alexander McKenzie
- Location of story:
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 19 November 2005
This story was submitted by Alan Welsh, a Radio Cumbria volunteer, on behalf of Alex McKenzie and has been added to the site with his permission.
During the war, Alex was a schoolboy living in Barrow-in-Furness. He recalls a lot of people lining Walney Channel to watch a captured German U-boat being towed into Barrow harbour.
The U-boat had been brought to the surface by a British destroyer in the Atlantic. To surrender, the U-boat commander rowed across to the destroyer. Meanwhile, his second-in-command was supposed to be getting the crew safe AND scuttling the submarine; he didn’t manage the latter!
The whole crew were captured. The officers were sent to an officers’ Prisoner of War camp, Grizedale Hall in the Lake District. Shortly after their arrival, the Germans convened a court for the second-in-command to explain his inaction. To redeem his honour, the "court" set him the challenge of escaping, going to Barrow and destroying the U-boat. He did manage to escape, but was shot and killed by the Home Guard.
Meanwhile, the U-boat was held in the graving dock at Barrow and stripped down for parts. The graving dock is now the site of the popular Dock Museum.
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