Review: Black Flag – The Surrender of Germany’s U-Boat Forces (2009) – By Lawrence Paterson

Excellent Tribute to the Fighting Men of Britain!

An Excellent insight into the British anti-fascist war against Nazi Germany’s U-Boats! The author expresses his expert knowledge about the Nazi German U-Boats – that took so many innocent lives for Hitler – whilst continuously reminding the audience of the horror of the regime in question! On May 2nd, 1945, even with the end of the war in-sight – the Commander of U979 attacked and sank steam-powered Royal Navy Patrol Service Minesweeper – HMT Ebor Wyke (with her sister-ship –  HMT Clavella – picking up just one survivor from the Ebor Wyke) and three-days later (May 5th, 1945) U979 attacked and crippled the 6,386-ton British tanker MT Empire (part of the RU161 convoy), U979 would continue its rampage until finally surrendering on May 23rd, 1945. Its Commaander was later arrested accused of War Crimes. Even after the official ‘cease-fire’ order of May 4th, 1945, (and before the formal ‘surrender’ order of May 8th, 1945) given by the post-Hitler ‘Donitz’ Nazi German government – some Nazi German U-Boat Commanders carried-on attacking and sinking allied shipping and unnecessarily taking lives! The Allies were not static at this time and took a terrible toll upon any Nazi German U-Boat not following the designated ‘cease-fire’ and ‘surrender’ protocols! As the grandson of Seaman Arthur Gibson (1911-1997) who served aboard the HMS Beaumaris Castle – I am glad to see the author confirm the story we heard as children many times – that the Beaumaris Castle took the initial ‘Black Flag’ surrender of U1009 just of the Butt of Lewes (Outer Hebrides) – the first Nazi German U-Boat to officially surrender after May 8th surrender order of the Donitz Nazi German government! As no one was sure of the exact protocol the Beaumaris Castle was ordered to escort U1009 137 miles South to Loch Ewe and after an initial inspection by high-ranking Royal Navy officials (and what appears to be the first part of a ‘surrender’ in segments) the Beaumaris Castle was then ordered to escort the U1009 another 140 miles back up to the Northeast – where U1009 was handed over into the jurisdiction of other Royal Navy ships and the ‘final surrender completed on May 10th, 1945 at Loch Eriboll situated on the tip of North Scottish Mainland (as the records of the ‘German U-Boat Museum’ in North Germany are ‘incomplete’ – it does not hold any data about U1009 making initial contact with the HMS Beaumaris Castle on May 8th and only recognises U1009’s surrender as occurring when it entered Loch Eriboll on May 10th – this lack of data has led some researchers to falsely assume this event a) did not happen, or b) other ships ‘magically’ took the place of the Beaumaris castle)! Seventeen U-Boats would eventually (directly) surrender at Loch Eriboll with a another sixteen being brought into the Loch that had surrendered at other places (mostly Norway). In the end, thirty-three of the total forty-eight U-Boats that surrendered to the British would end-up ‘berthed’ in Loch Eriboll! Importantly, the author – Lawrence Paterson – thoroughly checks all references and adds some unique insights to old data without tolerating any mythology or conspiracy theories!  

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