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German WW1 submarine found

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  • German WW1 submarine found


    Divers have described their discovery of a WWI German U-boat that historians believe was destroyed in 1919.

    Will it be recognised as a war grave or a possibility for salvage ?
    Anyone need a spleen ?

  • #2
    War grave. The waters there have many wrecks. (aud is still there, ammo and all). What you would gain from salvage would be worth less than the cost of salvage. It's more valuable(as a tourist attraction) in situ. In any event it is far from intact, as the information below shows.

    One of its crew is believed to have escaped from the explosion, but drowned and was washed up on the Wexford coast and is buried in Glencree.

    The Loss of UC-42

    During the First World War the deadiest weapon of the German navy was the submarine. Travelling from bases in Germany and the conquered Belgium these craft were responsible for millions of tons of Allied shipping being sent to the bottom bringing Britain to the verge of defeat. The conventional means for a submarine sinking an enemy ship had been either explosives placed on board the victim, or by gunfire and torpedo.

    German engineers had devised a new type of U-boat, that of the submarine mine-layer. The first types similar, to the illustration opposite (of the captured UC5) were called the UC-l class. They were small coastal type boats without any fixed guns fitted

    German Minelayer UC-5 (UC1 Class)

    The UC-1 class were followed by the larger UC-ll class of which the UC-42 was one. These had a 22lb deck gun as well as mines and torpedoes and had the extended range capabilities missing from earlier types These were the type of submarine that laid mines off all coasts of Ireland.

    UC-11 Class of Flanders Flotilla

    Towards the end of the war there was an even larger class called the UC-lll, and UE class, and these were capable of voyaging to the USA and leaving mines off the east coast ports. It is believed that approximately five hundred ships were sunk by mine during WW1 showing that it was a very effective form of maritime warfare.

    On 31st Oct 1917 Torpedo Boat TB 055, under the command of Chief Torpedo GunnerT.T. Britton,was accompanying Trawlers minesweeping at the mouth of Cork harbour. At 15.00hrs they noticed an oil track floating on the sea surface and followed it to its source. Stopping they began to use their hydrophone to check if there was a submarine causing the oil patch. Britton reported loud mechanical sounds of hammering and "turbine-like noises".

    Chief Torpedo Gunner T.Britton HM Torpedo Boat 058

    Believing this to be a U-boat they dropped a marker buoy, then armed and dropped a depth charge on the spot. When the explosion had subsided TB 055 returned to the spot and saw that the volume of oil had increased, along with bubbles of gas rising to the surface

    The armed minesweeping trawler HMT Sarba under the command of Lieut G.G. Astbury was close by, so TB 055 signalled for assistance. Sarba manouvered to the spot where oil was rising steadily and used her hydrophone but did not report any sounds from the suspected submarine. They dropped a second depth charge and then bouyed the spot. Sarba remained on station overnight and on the morning of the 1st of November the drifter HMD Sunshine and TB 058 swept around the obstruction, checking that this was not a false alarm caused by a rocky seabed or old wreckage.

    By daylight on Nov 2nd the oil was continuing to come to the surface and Haulbowline dockyard divers arrived to inspect the wreck. They reported that there was a wrecked German U-boat lying on the seabed , this was the minelaying submarineUC-42. There were no survivors reported even though some of the hatches were opened. It was thought that the boat had been minelaying when one of the mines had detonated under the stern.

    The divers reported:"Number on Brass plate on top of conning tower is C42, 1916 -Wreck has six mine tubes -Foremost tube is empty, remainder are full -Two torpedo tubes forward, as in UC-44 -In addition there are two spare torpedoes in cradles one abaft each fore tube -Conning tower is different from UC-44 -Upper deck steering position being before the windscreen, on a high step -Highest part of conning tower has apparently three hatches leading down into it, and is reached by iron ladders bolted on each side aft. -Stern is blown off -Impossible to obtain her length -Two hatches, one on conning tower and one just before the gun are open -Two periscopes down, fore periscope port side, mast forward side of steering compass" (From telegram sent by CIC Queenstown to Admiralty Nov 1917)

    When the sinking and identification of the submarine was reported to London, the Admiralty requested an item from the vessel for verification. In December 1917 divers recovered the telephone buoy from the conning tower and it was sent to the Admiralty in London. The Naval Intelligence Department were aware of the September 1st departure date of UC-42 from Belgium and were highly sceptical about the sounds of hammering and engine noises reported by TB 055. The Admiralty reported that

    "The longest known cruise of a UC boat in home waters is 24 days, so UC42 must have been dead long before TB 055 and Sarba dropped the depth charges" (Memo 20th November 1917)

    Vice Admiral Sir Lewis Bayley, the Commander of naval forces at Queenstown pressed hard for some recognition for the patrol crews involved,even though it was highly likely that they had nothing to do with the destruction of the submarine. He felt however that it would be a big morale booster for the minesweeping forces. His superiors agreed to this, and to this end the following awards were made:

    TB 055
    Chief Gunner T.F.Britton ........................Distinguished Service Cross
    Acting Gunner J.G.Lake..........................Mentioned in Despatches CERA Wm.J.Quick..................................Distin guished Service Medal
    Able Seaman L.Dunlea............................Distinguished Service Medal
    HMT Sarba
    Lieut.George Gillen Astbury,RNR.........Distinguished Service Cross
    Skipper Stanley J.Johnston,RNR...........Mention in Despatches
    There was a further award to the crew of HMT Sarba of £300 divided among the crew on a share basis.
    It should be noted that these monetary payments to crews for the destruction of enemy ships were found particularly abhorrent by German naval forces.

    Vice-Admiral Bayley, in a number of telegrams to the Admiralty expressed fears that the sunken submarine was a significant hazard to shipping due to the mines and torpedoes contained within the hull. There was a standing order at the time for any submarines found in coastal waters to be raised if possible in order to examine U-boat technology and search for code books and charts. At this time however another U-boat, the UC-44 was being raised in Dunmore East, Co. Waterford, and Bayley was informed that-

    "I am to aquaint you that operations are at present being undertaken on another submarine, and there is no plan available for yours, this is considered by DNI to be the most important" (Telegram from Admiralty, April 1918)

    During 1918 a number of attempts were made by Haulbowline divers, and by American naval divers to disarm the submarine by removing some of the mines- this was a very delicate task which involved firstly removing the detonator from the side of the mine then unscrewing each of the four brass horns from the tops of the mines, then lifting the mines to a waiting boat where the explosive was removed using steam.

    Three mines were removed in this manner and were stored on board USS Melville, the American naval forces destroyer tender which was moored in Cork Harbour. One of the torpedoes was also removed and stored on board Melville

    In July1919, divers acting under the instructions of explosives experts at HMS Vernon torpedo school detonated charges on either side of the UC-42 destroying the submarine. The remains then dispersed along the seabed by means of wire sweeps. Repeated searches of the seabed close to the reported location by scuba divers since the 1970's have failed to show any remaining parts of the submarine. Recent reports however, indicate that the remains of this submarine have been found by sports divers..

    The Crew of UC-42 all of whom lost their lives were;
    Kmdt.: Oblt. z. S. Hans Albrecht Muller.
    L.I.: Mar. Ing. Ob. Ufp. Miller.
    W.O.: Lt. z. S. d. R. Liphardt.
    U-hzr. Bauer
    U-Masch. Mt. Baumgardt.
    U-hzr. Beder.
    U-Masch. Mt Brummer.
    U-Masch. Mt Duhrmann.
    U-F. T. Gaft Fabel.
    U-hzr. Flemming.
    U-Masch. Mt Hartmann.
    U-hzr. Herrman.
    U-Ob. Bts. Mt. d. R. Hendemann.
    U-Masch. Mt. Holling.
    U-Ob. Masch. Mt. d. R. Klude.
    U-Mtr. Kromer.
    U-Mtr. Kundschast.
    U-hzr. Massinger.
    U-Mtr. Dertel.
    U-Masch. Mt. Plitt.
    U-F. T. Ob. Gft. Raschte.
    U-Mtr. Reemts.
    U-Mtr. Reinsch.
    U-Ob. Bts. Mt. Reinschmidt.
    U-Bts. Mt Scharf.
    U-Bts. Mt. Scherun.
    U-Masch. Unw. Schuschent.

    Page last updated 16th November 2010..

    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


    • #3
      May those that perished so long ago + Rest In Peace +

      In all probability the nearly 100 year old condition of the mines

      if any survived as well as deck-gun ammo

      would be a very good reason to keep people away.

      Connaught Stranger.
      Last edited by Connaught Stranger; 24 January 2011, 17:14.


      • #4
        Reading above, it appears any ordnance was destroyed after the war, and the remains were draglined, and with the amount of fishing in the area, any remaining mine should have been retrieved long ago.

        Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


        • #5
          Recent reports however, indicate that the remains of this submarine have been found by sports divers..
          One never knows what the "remains" entail until a complete survey has been conducted.

          If listed as a war grave then no items should be removed, however that has not stopped people in the past.

          Connaught Stranger.


          • #6
            Divers have described their discovery of a WWI German U-boat that historians believe was destroyed in 1919.

            Divers have described their discovery of a WWI German U-boat that historians believe was destroyed in 1919.

            All 27 crew on board the UC42 died when the submarine sank at the entrance to Cork Harbour on 10 September 1917.

            It had been laying mines when an explosion was heard.

            A team of five amateur divers from Cork discovered the submarine in good condition in 27m of water just off Roches Point on 6 November after a 12-month search.

            Diver Ian Kelleher said they were very surprised and ecstatic to find it with little obvious explosive damage.

            Positive identification was possible when they found its number stamped on a propeller.

            Mr Kelleher, a chemistry student, said that two days before Christmas, the dive team laid a plaque of remembrance near the propellers as a memorial to the 27 German submariners who died.

            They plan to return to the site over the coming weeks and continue their research into the submarine and its crew, including trying to contact relatives of the crew.

            Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.