Make your own free website on

Castle Archdale, Northern Ireland Coastal Command

Castle Archdale Successes

Home | RAF Coastal Command | RAF 201 Squadron | RAF 280 Squadron | The RCAF | RCAF 422 Squadron | RCAF 423 Squadron | No12 (Operational) Flying Instructors School St. Angelo | No 4 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit | Beginning | WW 2 Castle Archdale. | 201 Faces | 280 Faces | 422 Faces | 423 Faces | Archdale Faces /Places /Photos | 422 Captains & Crews | 423 Captains & Crews | 201/422/423 SQN Crests | Hard Times | Castle Archdale Successes | The Sunderland | Amazing Coastal Command Videos | The Donegal Corridor | Wartime Documents | ORB'S and Squadron Reports | Killed In Action | 423 Move From Castle 1945 | 423 Squadron Now | Archdale Hangar 2010 | Final Flight | Guestbook | RCAF 446 SAM Squadron (Post WW2) | Robert "Bob" Alexander Smith Flight Sergeant (W.Op./Air Gnr.) 226 Squadron R.A.F. | Links To Other WW2 Related Sites | Contact Me

Message From Winston Churchill To Coastal Command


13/5.43  U753 - Musgrave, 423 ( W6006). Sunk
31/5/43  U440 - Gall  201 (DD835). Sunk
27/6/43 U518 , Layne 201 (W6005) ( Damaged).
4/8/43  U-489 , Bishop 423 (DD859)  (Sunk).
8/10/43 U610 Russell ,423 ( Sunk).
16/10/43 U470 Sargent ,422 ( Damaged) - Sargent was shot down and killed.
This one is a odd one as the Squadron was based at Bow more but they took off from Archdale.
The aircraft was shot to pieces by the U Boat's gunners the report on the action makes terrible reading, they were literally cut to pieces.
10/3/44 U-625, Butler - 422 (Sunk).
24/4/44 U-672. Fellows- 423 ( Heavily Damaged)
24/5/44 U921 - Nesbitt , 423 ( damaged). ( On detachment to Sullom Voe at the time).
6/12/44 U-297 Hatton , 201 (Sunk).
28/12/44 ?? Farren , 423 (Damaged)  B/423.
30/4/45 U-25 Foster 201 ( Sunk). (ML738).
By Catalina.
17/5/43 U-229  Gosling , 190. They had flown from Archdale. 229 was damaged and returned to base at St Nazaire

Attack on U-672 by Sunderland “A”, 423 Squadron

24 Apr 44
Short Sunderland Mk III, RAF s/n DD862, aircraft “AB-A” of No. 423 (General Reconnaissance) Squadron based at Castle Archdale, County Fermanagh, Ireland with Flight Lieutenant F.G. Fellows and crew sank U-311 at 50-36N 18-36W. 
This attack has now been revised.
    U-672 was heavily damaged in this attack.
(24 Apr, 1944 0100hrs)
The boat was attacked at 0100hrs by a British Leigh Light equipped B-24 Liberator aircraft (Sqdn 120/M, pilot F/lt L. T. Taylor) dropping 6 depth charges but the boat was not damaged. (Franks, N. 1995.)
(24 Apr, 1944 1339hrs)
The attack on 24 April, 1944 at 1339hrs southwest of Ireland, in position 50.36N, 18.36W, by depth charges from a Canadian Sunderland aircraft (Sqdn. 423/A, pilot F/lt G. Fellows) formerly credited with sinking the U-311 was in fact against U-672 inflicting severe damages. The aircraft suffered near-fatal damages when a depth charge detonated prematurely but the pilot managed to bring it back to base. (Sources: 1986-04-01, FDS/NHB)
My grandfathers attack on U-672 was the second attack of the day on this U-boat.





The back of photo, text written by F.G. Fellows

Sunderland "A" For Able
Each trip 17-18 hours ( With 2 hours pre-flight and 2 hours debriefing = 1day!) Mostly over North Atlantic on convoy escort.

F/Lt F. G. Fellows
Sgt. E. G. Dyer
FO R. G. Scott
FO H. Niblett
FO H. M. Calvert
WO J. Carslake
WO S. Cowan
Sgt R. Guiver
Sgt T. H. Edwards
Sgt R. Oliver
Sgt G. Stevenson
F/Lt F.G."Jerry" Fellows became a flying boat instructor when his tour with 423 ended, after the war, he continued his Air Force career as a liaison officer at the Canadian Embassy in Washington and he was assigned to the Pentagon with the U.S. Air Force during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was a test pilot and Commanding Officer of the RCAF Squadron at the Central Experimental and Proving Establishment in Suffield, Alberta and Commander of the BOMARC surface-to-air missile base in North Bay. He was honourably released from the Air Force in June of 1969 with the rank of LT/Col.



Back of photo written by F.G. Fellows. U-311 info was still not revised at the time.
This group attacked U-672 On April 24 1944
Back Row: Bruce Whitney (2nd pilot)( Bruce was not on the Sunderland the day of the attack of U-672), Gord Stevenson (Gunner), Dick Dyer (Wireless operator), Tom Edwards (Gunner), J.F. "Paddy" O'Neil (Engineer)(Mr. O'Neil was not aboard the Sunderland on the day of the attack of U-672), Cal Calvert (Navigator)
Front Row: Ron Oliver (Engineer), Stan Cowan (Wireless operator), Jerry Fellows (Pilot/Captain), Jim Caslake (Operator), Bob Scott ( 2nd pilot)
The following account is located at the Juno Beach Center, or by clicking HERE to go to their website.
At 1339 hours on 24th April, 1944, Sunderland A/423 was in DR. position 30º44'N 18º40'W flying on course 180ºT (no drift) at 2100 feet when the captain saw visually a wake bearing 175ºT distant 16 miles (8 minutes flying time). Speed was increased to 140 kts [knots] while the second pilot confirmed with the binoculars that the wake was that of a U-Boat in position 50º36'N, 18º36'W (Cor) on course 180º speed 16 kts. Aircraft maintained course and height for about 8 miles when Captain made a slight turn to port preparatory to turning to starboard to take up a position to attack.

When the aircraft was abeam of the U-Boat and five miles distant, the latter commenced to make a tight turn to starboard with the object of always remaining stern-on to the aircraft. Simultaneously the U-Boat opened fire with medium flak which exploded with White puffs about 2½-3 miles short but was accurate for line. Shells were also observed to splash short into the sea. The form taken by the firing was a box barrage. No tracer was seen. The aircraft was dead astern of the U-Boat at this time. Aircraft continued to turn to starboard and when it was between U-Boat and the sun the U-Boat momentarily retarded its rate of turning and the aircraft commenced its run-in, being on course 340ºT, after having turned through 180º in manoeuvring for position. When 1,200 yards distant aircraft opened fire from four fixed nose guns and two front turret guns, firing a total of 1500-1600 rounds, with such effect that the U-Boat was silenced for the last 300 yards of the run-in. Up to this point the aircraft had received numerous hits but nevertheless the Captain pressed home his attack with the minimum of evasive action consisting only of slight diving turns.

At 1347 hours aircraft tracked right over the still surfaced U-Boat from starboard quarter to port bow, course of aircraft being 340ºT and of U-Boat 360ºT six Mk XI Torpex D.C.s [Depth Charges] set 25 feet spaced 60 feet were released from 50 feet. As the rear gunner, who had his guns fully depressed, saw the forward part of the U-Boat in his sights and pressed the trigger there was a violent explosion - estimated by S.I.O. [Section Intelligence Officer] from calculations made after tests with camera and bomb switch, to be of fourth D.C.

The force of this explosion was such as to throw up the entire moveable contents of the aircraft - floorboards, I.F.F. [Identify Friend/Foe] set, crockery, eggs and oven forming a new variety of omelet, on the edge of which the rear gunner was knocked unconscious and the W.O.M. [Wireless Operator] thrown from his perch in the astro-dome.

All electrical circuits became u/s. the R/T [Radio Transmitter] cable was severed, wing seams opened, and port flaps rendered u/s amongst other damage, but the principal damage was to the elevator which needed all the skill and strength of the Captain assisted by the Second Pilot to counteract. The aircraft being full tail heavy started to climb and although trimmed full nose heavy (14º) still required pressure on the controls. All crew were eventually stationed forward of the main spar to assist by their weight in maintaining trim.

Meanwhile, when the aircraft as 300 yards distant the front gunner saw approx. 70-100 feet astern of the U-Boat a brownish pool with blue smoke hanging above it.

While the aircraft was being got under control the rear gunner, who had regained consciousness, saw the U-Boat stern down and appearing to list, possibly caused buy its continuing the turn which it had commenced evasive action. This condition was confirmed by two of crew in port galley hatch and one in astro-dome.

At this point the aircraft had been got on to an even keel and having gained height to 600 feet a careful turn was made so as to track over the scene of the action. This turn, taking 2-3 minutes, prevented continued observation of the U-Boat and the above was the last that was seen of it.

When the aircraft arrived over the D.C. pool there was a patch of light blue oil 300 feet by 100 feet with tails or streaks 200 yards long pointing towards the D.C. pool, the patch being 400 yards north of the D.C. pool. No swirl, wake or wreckage was seen.

The aircraft, which had dropped a Marker Marine Mk. II at the time of attack, remained in the vicinity for 36 minutes, then dropped a Marker Marine Mk. III set for 2 hours delay and set course for base.


Actual photgraph of U-672 under attack by my grandfather's Sunderland, April 24, 1944.


Crew of U-672, Ulf Lawaetz in the middle.

List of crew members of U-672:



















Bauer (Bäure)



































































































































































Kurt (Mumm)






Claus Dieter







Left to right:
Kurt Paulus  the electrical engineer for U-672 and Richard Lebek, both crew members of U-672.
This picture was taken aboard U-672. The photo was donated to this website by Richard's son, Norman Lebek. I am happy to report that Mr. Richard Lebek is alive and well and living in Vancouver.
I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Lebek and he gave me an eyewitess account of the incident between my grandfather's Sunderland and U-672.
According to Mr. Lebek:
The Sunderland was spotted some miles away, the u-boat started to fire at the Sunderland, causing the plane to steer away from the flak. The plane than started another run at the u-boat, taking many direct hits, the pilot was right on target when he did his bombing run.
Luck had it the bombs fell accross the boat at an angle, with detonations on either side of the hull. The damage was extensive. Both engines were broken off their mounts. The uboat was crippled,but the batteries were fully charged. according to Mr. Lebek, the Sunderland had smoke trailing behind it as it passed directly overhead the u-boat, dropping 6 depth charges.
Mr Lebek also reported that the u-boats guns jammed when the plane was approximately 300 yards away, allowing the Sunderland to creep closer to drop the dc's.
Mr Lebek was sitting in his chair, as he was firing the rear guns at the plane, he told me that he saw the dc's drop and than every part of him went numb as an explosion took place.
He sat in his chair, momentarily stunned and came back to focus to hear his skipper, Ulf Laweatz, yelling at him to come to the hatch area quickly as they were preparing to dive.
Both motors of the u-boat had been rendered useless in the attack, the sub's engineer hatched a plan to dive to 50 feet and than ride the currents away to safety, one crew member was  in charge of moving back and forth  on the u-boat to maintain the trim without using power.
Mr. Lebek told me that the 1 week of food that was left was rationed to 2 small meals a day, no unneccasery movement was ordered to save oxygen, they had compressed oxygen to replenish the air. When they were close to France they surfaced and were assisted. 
The plan was executed perfectly as the u-boat was able to safely make it's way to the port of St.  Nazaire for repairs.
According to Mr. Lebek, this manouver had never been attempted before and surly has not been repeated since.
A remarkable feet indeed!
Before serving with U-672, Mr. Lebek was a crew member aboard U-68 for close to 3 years,  he also received the German Cross in Gold as seen on his uniform in the above photo.
Prior to this, he was the driver for Otto Kretschmer, a well known U-boat commander.
U-672 was sunk on July 18, 1944 and Mr. Lebek  and was a pow in Medicine Hat, Alberta till nov 1947. ( Camp 132 )
While Mr. Lebek was on U-68 mid , south Atlantic, they were  taking on supplies when smoke was spotted on the horizon, the  3 subs  finished taking on supplies and dove, the supply ship made a run for it,  the oncoming ships were British war ships, and the supply vessel was sunk, the British did not hang around as they knew this ship was  to meet up with uboats. U-68 towed the survivors to the coast of Arica on the surface, with life boats in tow and men on deck, all knowing the boat may have to dive at any time.


Mr. Richard Lebek is the man with his hand on the "conch".
On this day , Otto Kretchmer said to Mr. Lebek as they drove, "I have a job for  you during this ceremony, Richard is the presenter of the life ring from the  "conch"    the ceremony was recognition to the German  army for service in port.




Inside page of 25th birthday card made for Mr. Richard Lebek by fellow inmates while a pow at camp 132.


Left to right:
Richard Lebek and son Norman Lebek, photo taken in Las Vegas.


Crew of U-672. Photo taken upon arrival at port of St.  Nazaire, after attack by my grandfather's Sunderland.


Ulf Lawaetz inspecting crew  at port of St.  Nazaire


Ulf Lawaetz ( left ) at the end of one of his 4 patrols as part of the 6th U-Flotilla.

Officers of U-672:
Cover name for U-672- HORRIDO





06.04.43 - 18.07.44





06.04.43 - 18.07.44





06.04.43 - 06.44



06.44 - 18.07.44

Note:  II. WO 02.44 - 06.44




Gerhard ADY

06.04.43 - 02.44



06.44 - 18.07.44


Claus-Ferdinand ALTPETER

06.04.43 - ?

No photo available.




? - 05.44


24 Apr, 1944
The attack on 24 April, 1944 at 1339hrs southwest of Ireland, in position 50.36N, 18.36W, by depth charges from a Canadian Sunderland aircraft (Sqdn. 423/A, pilot F/lt F.G. Fellows) formerly credited with sinking U-311 was in fact against U-672 inflicting severe damages. The aircraft suffered near-fatal damages when a depth charge detonated prematurely but the pilot managed to bring it back to base. (Sources: 1986-04-01, FDS/NHB




Flightlog of Jerry Fellows
Page from April  1944


423 RCAF Report on the attack on U-672


Narrative Report on the attack on U-672 page #1


Narrative Report on the attack on U-672 page #2


Diagram of attack drawn by F.G. Fellows

Click here to download the partial interrogation report of U-672


KTB Report on attack (page#1)


KTB Report on attack (page#2)


KTB Report on attack (page#3)


KTB Report on attack (page#4)

Kriegstagebücher (KTB) & Stehender Kriegsbefehl

Des Führers/Befehlshaber der Unterseeboote (F.d.U./B.d.U.)

War Diary and War Standing Orders of Commander in Chief, Submarines:

24.April 1944.

BE 22  

On Return Passage:  U 66 - 92 - 123 - 154 - 170 - 178 - 188 - 214 - 218 - 262 - 448 - 518 - 672 - 741 - 802 - 986.


III. Reports on the Enemy:
  a) At 1342 U 672 was attacked by aircraft in BE 2281.  As boat was possibly proceeding on the surface in order to lay Thetis buoys U 672 and U 267 received orders to lay Thetis buoys at night.
  b)  None.
  c) 1) U-boat sighting by aircraft of 19 Group in BE 2219; at 1348 same aircraft reported depth charge attack on this boat and at 1352 sent urgent message addressed Liverpool (U 672).
    2) ASV locations in BF 2719 (Thetis buoy?) and one location in unspecified position.  Both reports finally cancelled.
    3) Enemy units located in:  BE 5335 - 1810 - 7960 - AK 9982 - AM 4930 - 0840.


IV. Current Operations:
  a)  None.

b) 1) U 548 received square BB and western third of BC as operations area, with focal point off St. Johns and BC 69.
      In case of ice situation still being unfavorable in this area, boat to occupy area off Halifax.
    2) U 385 detailed to AM 40 for new moon period as requested.
    3) U 852 reported position from LT.  Boat therefore implies that it has left operations area off Capetown occupied up to date, and is proceeding along East African coast during favorable moon period, to operate in MQ during full moon, and then to operate in Gulf of Aden at following new moon until fighting ability expended.
  c)  None.
  d)  U 962 must be presumed lost.  Boat on return passage in North Atlantic last reported position as BE 49 on 8.4.  According to this, and also on account of fuel shortage, boat should already have entered port.  Cause of loss unknown.
V. Reports of Success:  None.


Page 2, Utica Press, January 28, 1945- Report of attack on U-672.


Enlargement of article in Utica Press


(Sqdn. 423/A, pilot F/LT  F.G. "Jerry" Fellows)
Jerry"s time during WW2 was 1941-1946. Following the war, Jerry continued his Air Force career as a liaison officer at the Canadian Embassy in Washington and he was assigned to the Pentagon with the U.S. Air Force during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was a test pilot and Commanding Officer of the RCAF Squadron at the Central Experimental and Proving Establishment in Suffield, Alberta and Commander of the BOMARC 446  "SAM" Squadron surface-to-air missile base in North Bay. He was honourably released from the Air Force in June of 1969 with the rank of LT/Col.


Above Mr Jerry Fellows ( wearing side cap) - "passing the can" to Bruce Whitney , who took over his crew when Jerry's tour was complete.

Although A/423 DD862  had taken a considerable beating at the hands of U-672,
she did fly again - her last flight was on 31st May 1945 - a local air test over Lough Erne "local flying".
The new pilot Bill Stewart "Buzzed a monastry - this can only be Saint Patricks on Lough Derg.
A short while later they had an engine fire a cyclinderlining fractured and an engine went on fire.
The fire extinguisher was fired and it failed to put out the fire , the engine fell out of its housing and the pilot had to get down quick , he was probably on an approach to land (ASAP) when the engine fell out , he put her down North of Boa Island and the crew set about getting out , the fire was taking hold of the wing and there was nothing to do but get off.
The crew took to their life raft and some lcal men fishing went to give a hand.
They came ashore on the Northern shore of the Boa Island.
Eyewitness accounts  said that the crew were "black as you boot" from "the smoke which had get into the hull".
The aircraft was on fire and although tenders from Archdale arrived she could not be saved and was drifting towards the Northern Shore of the "Inner Lough".
She was largely burnt out and over the next few weeks was cut up and taken away on "a low loader".
The fate of the aircraft has given rise to some alternative stories - that " she was towed to a deep hole at the back of Innishmeely and sunk".
To date no aircraft has been found in that area.
Below some photos which are taken looking towards the direction in which DD8962 made her final approach , the approximate location where the engine fell is marked.



A close up of the water on which DD862 A/423 made her final landing.
Here is a copy of a letter written by Bill Stewart who was the last person to fly A/423 DD862. The letter was addressed to George Irvine who witnessed the account:
Dear George Irvine,

Some 63 years ago, come May 2008, I landed a burning Sunderland on Lower Lough Erne.Through various contacts, in both America and Ireland, memories of those far-off days have lately come flooding back to me,the most recent contact being Robert Cameron James Stewart,who is related to you----once or twice removed. In any event, he is a great source of information but the most astounding story is that you witnessed the "ditching" and six blackened airmen scrambling up the bank of the Lough to a roadway! My memory of the incident is not very reliable; for example I know we "buzzed" a convent that I had always thought was located on an island in Lough Erne but an Irvinestown lady set me straight on that point and both James and a chap named Garry Pentland have suggested it may have been situated on Lough Derg. Thus, the memory that I have, after landing, is one of madly paddling a dinghy to get away from an aircraft that was about to blow up! (It never did) and being picked up by a Fireboat or Tender from Castle Archdale

If you are able to add further enlightenment to this incident, I would be most pleased to hear from you.

Best regards,

Bill Stewart


 "Form 1180" which details the loss of DD862 of 423 RCAF in May 1945




Ordered 20 Jan, 1941
Laid down 24 Dec, 1941 Howaldtswerke Hamburg AG, Hamburg (werk 821)
Launched 27 Feb, 1943
Commissioned 6 Apr, 1943 Oblt. Ulf Lawaetz
6 Apr, 1943 - 18 Jul, 1944   Oblt. Ulf Lawaetz
Career 4 patrols 6 Apr, 1943 - 30 Sep, 1943  5. Flottille (training)
1 Oct, 1943 - 18 Jul, 1944  
6. Flottille (front boat)
Successes No ships sunk or damaged

Sunk 18 July 1944, in the English Channel north of Guernsey, in position 50.03N, 02.30W, by depth charges from the British frigate HMS Balfour. 52 survivors (No casualties).


Patrol info for U-672
24 Feb, 1944 St. Nazaire-12 May, 1944 St. Nazaire 79 days
U-672's daily positions during the patrol in diagram below.



Ulf Erling Gunther Lawaetz
Born 5 Nov, 1916 Died May 2 2002
Commander U-672
Rank- 1 Apr, 1942 Oberleutnant zur See
No ships sunk or damaged.
Ulf was born to a Danish engineer who worked in the German shipyards, and a German mother.
The oldest of five children, Ulf studied at Denmark's Soro Akademi before beginning cadet training in the Royal Danish Navy.
In 1937, three years after his mother had passed away, he had to choose between Danish or German citizenship, and also a vocation in either the German or Danish Navies.
His Danish supervisors advised him to go to Germany.
Ulf opted for German citizenship and the German navy.
He soon graduated from the Kriegsmarine, and than was posted to the destroyer Hans Ludemann in November, 1939.
In April, 1940, Ulf's destroyer was one of three that was carrying mountain troops to the port of Narvik to do battle with Allied ground forces. After successfully unloading all troops, Ulf's destroyer was one of a squadron of ten that were all lost in a surprise attack by the HMS Warspite and escorting Royal Navy destroyers. After a ferocious and quick struggle, all 10 German destroyers were sunk.
Ulf, along with other survivors, managed to struggle ashore, only to find himself caught up in the middle of the ground infantry war that was taking place between Allied forces and the German forces for control of the battered city. The Allied forces ended up retreating and Ulf survived the encounter on the ground.
He was soon afterwards posted to U-564 where he had the rank of the u-boats executive officer. (IWO) This made Ulf the second in command of U-564.
Soon afterwards, Ulf was given the command of a brand new U-boat, U-672, which was built in the Howaldts Werke dockyard in Hamburg in April, 1943.
Ulf's final u-boat voyage was on July 18, 1944 when U-672 was depth charged and forced to surface in the English Channel.
Ulf spent the remainder of the war as a P.O.W.
Ulf was released from prison in December of 1945, he went to Bunde, Germany, and started work as an interpreter. He ended up working his way to the top of a cigar factory as manager.
Patrol info for Ulf Lawaetz:
U-boat              From              To 
U-672            6 Apr, 1943    18 Jul, 1944    4 patrols (160 days)
U-boat                 Departure                               Arrival     
1. U-672             13 Nov, 1943   Kiel                   15 Jan, 1944   St. Nazaire
   Patrol 1=64 days 

2. U-672             24 Feb, 1944   St. Nazaire       12 May, 1944   St. Nazaire 
  Patrol 2=79 days

3. U-672            28 Jun, 1944   St. Nazaire       1 Jul, 1944   St. Nazaire
  Patrol 3=4 days 

4. U-672           6 Jul, 1944   St. Nazaire                  18 Jul, 1944   Sunk 
Patrol 4=13 days 

4 patrols, 160 total days at sea


Official emblem of U-672

Official Revisions of Credit affecting Canadian Forces:



German U-boat


Forces Formerly Credited










Remarks on Revision


7 Sept. 1943 U-669 RCAF Squadron 407 Bay Air Patrol 45-36N
Bay of Biscay Now posted as missing in the Bay of Biscay, 29 August 1943.
21 Sept. 1943 U-338 RAF Squadron 120 Patrol Unknown Southeast of Greenland The cause of loss is now classified as unknown although it is believed that U-338 crash dived when HMCS Drumheller opened fire on it and could not regain control of the dive. It was never seen or heard from again.
26 Oct. 1943 U-420 RCAF Squadron 10 Air Escort 50-49N
North Atlantic Now posted as missing in North Atlantic, 20 October 1943.
24 April 1944 U-311 RCAF Squadron 423 Air Escort 50-36N
North Atlantic Now credited to HMCS Swansea and HMCS Matane, 22 April 1944 in position 52-09N, 19-07W. U-672 was actually attacked April 24 1944 by 423 squadron.
11 Sept. 1944 U-484 HMCS Dunver, Hespeler Patrol 56-30N
Hebrides Now considered killed by HMS Portchester Castle and HMS Helmsdale on 9 September 1944 in position 55-45N, 11-41W.

The sinking of U-489 SE of Iceland on 4th August 1943

Sunk on August 4, 1943 by a Canadian Sunderland aircraft (RCAF Sqdn. 423) south-east of Iceland at 61.11N, 14.38W. 1 dead and 53 survivors.

4 Aug 1943:

A Sunderland of No 423 Squadron RCAF, piloted by AA Bishop, attacked the U-boat through a flak barrage which set the aircraft on fire.  Six shallow-setting depth charges were dropped accurately before the Sunderland crash-landed into the sea.  Six of the eleven-man crew, including Bishop, survived.  When surface forces arrived on the scene, the U-boat scuttled and all survivors were rescued.  Bishop was subsequently credited with the kill and awarded a DFC.


U.489, a brand new 1600-ton supply U-boat under command of Oberleutnant zur See der Reserve Adalbert SCHMANDT, was sunk on 4th August, 1943 by Hudson J of 269 Squadron and Sunderland G of 423 Squadron, in position 610 18'N, 0140 36'W.  She was caught on the surface after a prolonged enforced period under water and was not in condition to dive again, as her batteries were completely exhausted.  She was on her first patrol, only fourteen days out from Kiel.  Several prisoners stated that her original destination was Japan.

The entire ship's company escaped from the U-boat with their personal gear in rubber dinghies and were picked up by H.M.S. ORWELL and H.M.S. CASTLETON, who arrived on the scene within a half hour of the sinking.  The Engineer Officer, Oberleutnant (Ing.) MOLE died soon after his rescue as a result of injuries sustained in a violent explosion just as he was leaving the U-boat.  Survivors included three members of the German Air Force who had been rescued by U.489 some days previously when their Blom and Voss aircraft was shot down by a Beaufighter off Aalesund, Norway

U.489 carried a complement of fifty-four officers and men, including two engineer officers and a Surgeon-Lieutenant.  They were one of the poorest U-boat crews yet encountered.  All the officers except one were lower deck promotions ("Volksoffizier") for some of whom other officer prisoners felt constrained to apologize, and the average of experience and intelligence among the men was appallingly low.  No less than nineteen of the forty other ratings had had no naval experience whatever; six more, including the two leading hands, had served only in shore establishments, four others had sea-going experience, but had never served in U-boats before.  One Chief Petty Officer and one Petty Officer had been drafted from shore establishments, and a third Petty Officer had never served in U-boats, although he did have experience in surface vessels

The captain was Oberleutnant zur See der Reserve Adalbert SCHMANDT, aged thirty-three.  He was a man of little education, and had served in the German Merchant Navy for ten years before the war.  He was a long standing member of the Nazi party, having joined during a three year period of unemployment before Hitler's rise to power, and was full of gratitude for what the party had done for him.  He had set and lofty ideas on the duties of an officer and managed to inoculate a high degree of security consciousness in his crew.  U.489 was said to be his first command, but he had served in U-boats for some time, having done a period as Officer of the Watch in U.D.5. and in H.M.S. SEAL


A full account of this report can be had here ,
U-boat Archive - U-489 - Interrogation Report



An attack by a 269 aircraft had damaged a hatch seal and U-489 could not dive without taking water, when Al Bishop caught her she was on the surface her batteries exhausted.

Bishop's approaches were met with heavy accurate flak , when he did make his run in, his aircraft was shot to pieces but he delivered an accurate telling attack on her.

Below the 269 attack as per the units ORB ( Summary of events page).


The Sunderland was hit and seriously damaged on her attack run and whilst she critically damaged the submarine, the Sunderland was forced to ditch close by , the smoke from the burning wreck of the aircraft would save their lives as it was seen on the horizon by an alert watch keeper on HMS Castletown.

The Crew from the Sunderland were more thrown out ,rather than managed to get out on their own force. Murray Wettlauffer went through the cockpit window and several were wounded or sustained injuries in the crash.
The German seamen having been attacked and sunk - they ignored the aircrew who supported themselves and their wounded crewmates aided only by their "mae wests" unaware that the navy was coming to the rescue , growing weaker by the minute and close to death by the time the U-Boat crew had been picked up and then they in turn were plucked from the water.

The navy thought they were all Germans until one crewman saw the RAF/ RCAF birds on their shoulders, taken to sick bay / the wardroom, the crew went to work on them to restore body heat and keep their circulation going massaging them and trying to get them to pass urine.
Art Mountford recalls some sailors "taking me to the head" and supprting him as they encouraged him to "pee" , " Christ Canada arn't you ever going to p***" was something which he could still recall 50 years later.






Albert Alton Bishop DFC had his home in Erskins Alberta and was born there in 1917. He enlisted in the RCAF on December 17, 1940 and received aircrew instruction at various training schools in Canada.

Bishop graduated from No. 12 Service Flying Training School on September 23, 1941 and received his commission as a Pilot Officer. After posted overseas he joined 423 Squadron on July 12, 1942 and left March 8, 1944.

His first hazardous and danger filled sortie began October 27, 1942. Effective August 4, 1943, Bishop was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and after 42 risky and danger filled sorties (530 hours flying time), he was assigned to the role of Assistant Flight Commander.

The citation accompanying his DFC, in part, read as follows: "this officer captained an aircraft which attacked a U-Boat (U-489) and caused its destruction. During the action the aircraft was extensively damaged and later it came down on the sea. Whilst in the water, Flying Officer Bishop swam to the aid of one of his comrades who had been wounded and was without a life-saving jacket and unable to swim. Flying Officer Bishop supported his comrade until they were taken from the water by a naval vessel." The citation also referred to his gallantry and courage in face of deadly enemy gunfire. By March 9, 1945, Bishop had returned to Canada.


Murray Wettlaufer

Murray was 2nd pilot in Al Bishops crew when they sank U-489 SE of Iceland on 4th August 1943 - Murray was seriously injured but was lucky enough to survive.
The survivors from the Sunderland found themselves in the water yards from the germans who got off their stricken boat in good order, they made no move to help the Canadain crew.
Both sets of survivors were picked upo by the navy - it was only whilst medical care was being given that it was realised that aircrew had been picked up.
Murray made his exit from the Sunderland via the cockpit "windscreen".
The following is his own account of what transpired that day:
From Murray Wettlaufer:

"Early on the morning of 4th August 1943, I was flying as second pilot with F/O Al. Bishop and a crew of ten on a anti-submarine patrol from our base at Castle Archdale to Reykjavik , Iceland. About 200miles south of Iceland , we spotted a sub on the surface. The alarm was sounded , a first sighting report was dispatched , and we prepared to attack.
As we circled to approach from the rear , the sub turned in circles to keep his guns to bear on us. We found out that this was a mother ship which supplied other submarines with fuel , food and torpedoes, etc and that the armament cocsisted of a 4.7 in gun, four 20mm cannons and numerous machine guns. Our method was to attack from 50ft. using evasive action on the way in but the last part of our run had to be straight and level. The pilot dropped the depth charges which could be selectedin a string of eight or seperated into a stick of six saving two for later. We decided to attack and on the way in, all hell broke loose. Several hits were made in our aircraft and I distinctly remember the jagged holes in the metal floor under my feet and all the guages spinning around and round. Our controls were shot away but Al. Bishop was able to drop our depth charges after which we staggered on and crashed into the sea. I was thrown through the perspex windhield and found myself swimming to avoid burning oil and gasolene on the water. We made direct hits on the submarine which was severely damaged. The German crew, abandoned ship into rubber rafts some 100yds from us. We had some anxious moments because we were swimming in the water aided only by our Mae Wests but they paid little attention to us. The submarine heeled up with its stern high in the air and we saw it slip out of sight to its grave. As it disappeared, a severe explosion was felt which was probably was one of our depth charges. The german crew were heard to shout Seig heil , seig heil". About 45 minutes later, a British town class destroyer, the "Castletown" , launched a whaler and picked up 60 Germans before thy saw us. I was put in the bottom of the boat, rowed to the ship , and lifted high in the air by a crane and deposited on the deck. They took me to a Lieutenant's cabin where I was given emergency treatment for my wounds and for the shock of being in that cold, cold water. Five of the crew were killed but only one body was recovered. The next day we arrived in Iceland where I was taken to the local military hospital where I spent my 21st birthday. After a week I was flown to England and hospitalized near London. After eight months of hospital and rehabilation , I returned to Castle Archdale and operations."
Murray Wettlaufer.
Words of the pilot F/O Al Bishop:
“At about 0900 hrs. while flying at 5000 feet my crew sighted a fully surfaced U-boat which made no sign of diving. During that period of the ASW some of the U-boats were staying on the surface to fight it out with attacking aircraft so we did not find it unusual.
As we circled the U-boat we soon saw the advantage we might have was to attack down sun. We proceeded with such an attack descending to sea level. We approached, the U-boat started shooting at us with what appeared to be cannons with exploding shells and machine guns. I took evasive action by undulating the aircraft. As I levelled out at 50 feet for the final bombing, the shells began to hit the aircraft.

Two of my crew forward in the Sunderland returned fire with a .5 on a swivel and a .3 gun in the front turret. I was successful in tracking over the submarine and dropped six DCs straddling the sub.

After the attack the crew advised me that there was a fierce fire in the galley and bomb bay areas with flames coming upstairs.

The starboard engines were running at full power and there was very little aileron control. This was apparently caused by a shell that had burst under my seat severing the exactor controls to the starboard engines. I had slight flak in the back of my left knee which I did not know at the time. I had to stop the starboard engines and attempt to maintain control with the rudder. I decided to make an emergency landing and advised the crew over the intercom. All this happened in a few seconds. In trying to land we bounced and I had trouble controlling the aircraft; as we hit the water again the port wing dropped a little, the port float caught in the water, and we cartwheeled in the sea.

I recall putting my right arm up over my face and the next thing I recall I was under water and rising to the surface. I came up slightly behind the port wing. What was left of the aircraft was on fire and there was fire on the water around it. I swam through an open space.

As I was swimming I heard Sgt. Flinn call, “Skipper can you give me a hand?” I turned and swam to him and discovered he had no Mae West and was obviously badly hurt.

He did not struggle probably because of his injuries (he had been on the front gun) and his extensive swimming experience. I grabbed hold of him with my right arm. I saw one of the aircraft floats and was able to reach it but a soon as I grabbed it, it started to fill with water and sank.

I could not see any of the other crew members but a short while later I saw the submarine, stern down, not too far away. The crew were getting onto the carley floats or rafts. As the sub sank there was a big explosion. Its crew made no attempt to come over to us. For the next while (I was in the water about fifty minutes), I don’t recall anything. I attempted to change Flinn to my left arm but every little move caused him to scream in pain.

Next I recall looking around and seeing an RN destroyer. Apparently they had been patrolling in the same area and an alert lookout had seen the Sunderland dive down. Then after the crash they could see the black smoke from the fire. They launched lifeboats and picked us up. I was able to scramble up the scramble net at the side of the destroyer. While in the water I recall seeing a Sunderland overhead. It was from a Norwegian Squadron and I later met with the Captain.

Once aboard we were taken to the wardroom. There we started shivering violently. Before I could bed down, I was called to the deck to identify one of my Seargeant’s bodies and witness his burial at sea. After that I saw a doctor briefly and climbed into a bunk.

I was awakened at about 0230 hrs 5th August as we were entering Reykjavik. We survivors were taken to the hospital. Two of us were able to walk. The other four were badly injured and were in hospital in England for some time. I returned to Ireland on 13 August via a Liberator and went on a month sick leave. I returned to flying September 19 and onto ops on 2 October. I was repatriated to Canada March 1944.”



This small "comic" type presentation of the action came from Don "Red" Macfie who kindly allowed James Stewart to copy his diary which he maintained throughout the war.


X marks approximate site of the action

4 Aug 43
Short Sunderland Mk III, RAF s/n DD859, aircraft “3-G” of No. 423 (General Reconnaissance) Squadron based at Castle Archdale, County Fermanagh, Ireland with Flying Officer A.A. Bishop and crew sank U-489 at 61-11N 14-38W. AA fire from the U-boat shot the aircraft down and five of the 11-man crew were lost; the other six, all wounded, were rescued by a destroyer along with 23 survivors of the U-boat.


Bishop’s crew.

Front – Val Richard; Art Mountford 
Second row – S. Gossop (KIA); Harry Parliament (KIA);  Wetlaufer;
Third row – Horsborough;  Kelly (KIA);  Bishop; 
Standing front – “Huck” Finn; 
Extreme rear - “Ginger” Harcroft (KIA) - (Killed in Action)
At the time of the attack a meal was being prepared in the galley - Art Mountford was to be doing the cooking but instead of steak they had been issued with kippers - he had no idea how to cook them so "Ginger Horsborough" went to the galley and Art stayed "on the set" ( Wireless Op.), as Art Mountford told me "no one came out of the body of the aircraft alive and to this day I can't stand the smell of kippers" , a simple thing like kippers decided the fate of who would live and who would die.

The crew that attacked U-489
There is a mountain located in British Columbia, Canada that has been named for  Warrent Officer 1st Class John Stanley Kelly in his memory:
Kelly Peak Official Name
Feature Type: Peak (2)
Latitude: 50°35'16" Position at: CENTRE
Longitude: 118°09'29"
Gazetteer Map: 82L/9
Relative Location: NW. of Mount Odin, Kamloops Division Yale Land District

Origin Notes and History

Adopted 29 April 1965 on 82L/NE.
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

Named to remember RCAF Warrent Officer 1st Class John Stanley Kelly, R87870, from Revelstoke; serving with 423 Squadron when he was killed in action 4 August 1943, age 27. With no known grave, his name is inscribed on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, UK, panel 179.
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

"John Kelly was born and raised at Revelstoke; parents Allan V. and Marjorie E. Kelly. Warrant Officer Kelly was with the Sunderland Crew escorting a convey in the North Atlantic when a German U Boat was sighted. The sub was sunk but their aircraft was brought down; only 6 of the 11 crewmen survived." (September 1992 advice from siblings Joan Cook and Douglas Kelly)
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office



A gorgeous cloudless day looking towards Kelly Peak in British Columbia's Coquihalla range.



4 Aug, 1943
The sinking of U-489 Aircraft attack, aircraft shot down:Canadian Sunderland DD859 (423 Sqdn RCAF/G, pilot F/O A.A. Bishop, RCAF)

The boat had been damaged the day before and was attacked by the Sunderland soon after 09.00 hours. The aircraft was hit by AA fire during the attack run, dropped its depth charges and crashed into the sea, killing 5 of the 11 crewmen. But also U-489 had been hit mortally and sank slowly shortly thereafter. HMS Castleton and HMS Orwell had observed the attack and picked up the survivors from the aircraft and the U-boat.


Type - XIV

Ordered: 17 Jul, 1941

Laid down: 28 Jan, 1942  F. Krupp Germaniawerft AG, Kiel (werk 558)

Launched:  24 Dec, 1942

Commissioned: 8 Mar, 1943 Ltnt. Adalbert Schmandt

Commanders: 8 Mar, 1943- 4 Aug 1943  Oblt. Adalbert Schmandt

Career: 1 patrol 8 Mar, 1943 - 31 Jul, 1943  4. Flottille (training) 1 Aug, 1943 - 4 Aug, 1943  12. Flottille (front boat)

Successes: No ships sunk or damaged

Fate: Sunk on August 4, 1943 by a Canadian Sunderland aircraft (RCAF Sqdn. 423) south-east of Iceland at 61.11N, 14.38W. 1 dead and 53 survivors.

Click here for a copy of U-489 Interrogation Report




Ordered 17 Jul, 1941
Laid down 28 Jan, 1942 F. Krupp Germaniawerft AG, Kiel (werk 558)
Launched 24 Dec, 1942
Commissioned 8 Mar, 1943 Ltnt. Adalbert Schmandt
8 Mar, 1943 - 4 Aug, 1943   Oblt. Adalbert Schmandt
Career 1 patrol 8 Mar, 1943 - 31 Jul, 1943  4. Flottille (training)
1 Aug, 1943 - 4 Aug, 1943  
12. Flottille (front boat)
Successes No ships sunk or damaged

Sunk on August 4, 1943 by a Canadian Sunderland aircraft (RCAF Sqdn. 423) south-east of Iceland at 61.11N, 14.38W. 1 dead and 53 survivors.

Adalbert Schmandt
Born  26 Dec, 1909 Wustrow, Rostock
Died 1958

Attack on U-625 by Sunderland  422 Squadron





Main Explosion U-625



U-625 Sinking In Atlantic


Survivors Of U-625. The survivors eventually were lost at sea.


Photo of U-625 sinking following Sid Butler's attack.
Jim Wright of 423 Squadron was part of a crew sent out the next morning to look for survivors from the U-boat crew - all of whom managed to get into their liferafts - a storm which moved through the night before took them all - next day the flyingboats sent to look for them found nothing











The 422 RCAF Sunderland which sank U-625 West of Ireland in March 1944.
This was one of a series of photos taken by an official photographer the day after the sinking

On 10th March 1944 U-625 was operating as part of the Preussen group when it was sighted west of the River Shannon (Ireland) by a 407 SQN Wellington of the RCAF (PO E M O'Donnell). U-625 manned her guns and shot the Wellington down.

A few hours later the boat was again sighted, this time by a 422 SQN Sunderland RCAF (FL S W Butler RAF). The aircraft started in for the attack and the U-Boat commenced firing at the Sunderland while weaving. Butler too was dodging, however, the aircraft was hit before dropping 6 D/Cs onto U-625 which promptly submerged.

 It surfaced 3 minutes later, slowly circling. Butler circled the boat for approximately 90min, then the U-Boat signaled "Fine Bombisch" (fine bombing) and crew members started to abandon the boat in numerous small dinghies. The boat went down down by the stern at 1740h. Despite 17 of the crew (of 53) managing to abandon the boat, none were rescued and were presumed lost in high seas.

It was the U-boat's Nineteenth Sailing

U-625 had 3 ships sunk for a total of 18,751 GRT as well as 2 auxiliary warships sunk for a total of 1,129 GRT

The aircraft returned to Castle Archdale with a superb set of photos of the attack and of the sailors in their dinghies.

The German Submarine U625

Type: VIIC
Weight: 769 tons
Commander: Kapitan Leutnant Hans Becker.
Leutnant Becker had also commanded U152 and U80

War Service of Submarine U625

  • 6.11.1942: sinks the Empire Sky 7455 tonnes
  • 16.11.1942: sinks the Chulmleigh 5445 tonnes at Southern Cape of Spitzbrergen
  • 23:11.42: sinks a ship from a convoy called Goolistan 5851 tonnes
  • 20.7.1943 to 10.8.1943: destroys the Soviet trade in Pecora Sea  ~ a minefield in front of the Jugor-Strabe
  • 13.6.1943 to 25.9.1943: mining activities in the Kara Sea east of the Jugor-Strabe around the submarine group "dachs"
  • 23.12.1943 to 8.11.1944: 625 belongs to the submarine group "Rugen 6" West of Ireland
  • 2.1.1944: Kapitan Leutnant Becker and 1 Rating lost overboard ~ Attacked by G/224 Squadron Catalina Flying Boat ~ Command of U625 taken over by Kapitnan Leutnant Peter Straub
  • 10.3.1944: 625 sunk by aerial bomb from flying boat of 422 Squadron RCAF ~ Submarines U7412 and U256 are ordered to help ~ Two days after the attack the crew of U625 perished in high seas.

10 Mar 44
Short Sunderland Mk III, RAF s/n EK591, aircraft “2-U” of No. 422 (General Reconnaissance) Squadron based at St. Angelo, County Fermanagh, Ireland with Warrant Officer 2nd Class W.F. Morton and crew, sank U-625 at 52-53N 20-19W. The was W/O Morton’s first operational mission as an aircraft commander.




Ordered 15 Aug, 1940
Laid down 28 Jul, 1941 Blohm & Voss, Hamburg (werk 601)
Launched 15 Apr, 1942
Commissioned 4 Jun, 1942 Oblt. Hans Benker
4 Jun, 1942 - 2 Jan, 1944   Kptlt. Hans Benker
2 Jan, 1944 - 25 Jan, 1944   Oblt. Kurt Sureth
26 Jan, 1944 - 10 Mar, 1944   Oblt. Siegfried Straub
Career 9 patrols 4 Jun, 1942 - 30 Sep, 1942  8. Flottille (training)
1 Oct, 1942 - 31 Oct, 1942  
3. Flottille (front boat)
1 Nov, 1942 - 31 May, 1943  
11. Flottille (front boat)
1 Jun, 1943 - 31 Oct, 1943  
13. Flottille (front boat)
1 Nov, 1943 - 10 Mar, 1944  
1. Flottille (front boat)
Successes 3 ships sunk for a total of 18,751 GRT
2 auxiliary warships sunk for a total of 1,129 GRT

Sunk 10 March, 1944 west of Ireland, in position 52.35N, 20.19W, by depth charges from a Canadian Sunderland aircraft (RCAF Sqdn. 422/U). 53 dead (all hands lost).

Siegfried Straub
Born 22 Jun, 1918 Braunschweig
Died  10 Mar, 1944 age 25 North Atlantic


U-625 Emblem


Flt Lt J. Musgrave

12 May 43
Short Sunderland Mk III, RAF s/n W6006, aircraft “3-G” of No. 423 (General Reconnaissance) Squadron based at Castle Archdale, County Fermanagh, Ireland with Flight Lieutenant J. Musgrave and crew shared the sinking of U-456 with two destroyers, HMCS Drumheller and HMS Lagan, at 48-37N 22-39W. The aircraft was providing escort to Convoy HX-237.
    This attack has now been revised.
    U-753 was sunk in this attack.




Ordered 9 Oct, 1939
Laid down 3 Jan, 1940 Kriegsmarinewerft (KMW), Wilhelmshaven (werk 136)
Launched 26 Apr, 1941
Commissioned 18 Jun, 1941 Korvkpt. Alfred Manhardt von Mannstein
18 Jun, 1941 - 13 May, 1943   FrgKpt. Alfred Manhardt von Mannstein
Career 7 patrols 18 Jun, 1941 - 30 Nov, 1941  3. Flottille (training)
1 Dec, 1941 - 13 May, 1943  
3. Flottille (front boat)
Successes 3 ships sunk for a total of 23,117 GRT
2 ships damaged for a total of 6,908 GRT

Sunk 13 May, 1943 in the North Atlantic, in position 48.37N, 22.39W, by depth charges from the Canadian corvette HMCS Drumheller, the British frigate HMS Lagan and depth charges from a Canadian Sunderland aircraft (RCAF Sqdn. 423/G). 47 dead (all hands lost).

Alfred Manhardt von Mannstein
Born 9 Mar, 1908 Laurut, Galicia, Poland
Died 13 May, 1943 age 35 North Atlantic


U-753 (Type VIIC)


O.R.B. Report of attack on U-753

8 Oct 43
Short Sunderland Mk III, RAF s/n DD863, aircraft “3-J” of No. 423 (General Reconnaissance) Squadron based at Castle Archdale, County Fermanagh, Ireland with Flying Officer A.H. Russell and crew sank U-610 at 55-45N 24-33W. The aircraft was escorting Convoy SC-143.




Ordered 22 May, 1940
Laid down 5 Apr, 1941 Blohm & Voss, Hamburg (werk 586)
Launched 24 Dec, 1941
Commissioned 19 Feb, 1942 Oblt. Freiherr Walter von Freyberg-Eisenberg-Allmendingen
19 Feb, 1942 - 8 Oct, 1943   Kptlt. Freiherr Walter von Freyberg-Eisenberg-Allmendingen
Career 5 patrols 19 Feb, 1942 - 30 Sep, 1942  5. Flottille (training)
1 Oct, 1942 - 8 Oct, 1943  
6. Flottille (front boat)
Successes 4 ships sunk for a total of 21,273 GRT
1 ship damaged for a total of 9,551 GRT

Sunk 8 Oct, 1943 in the North Atlantic, in position 55.45N, 24.33W, by depth charges from a Canadian Sunderland aircraft (RCAF Sqdn. 423/J). 51 dead (all hands lost).

Freiherr Walter von Freyberg-Eisenberg-Allmendingen
Born  5 Nov, 1915 Geisenheim, Rheingau
Died 8 Oct, 1943 age 27 North Atlantic
5 Apr, 1935 Offiziersanwärter
1 Jul, 1936 Fähnrich zur See
1 Jan, 1938 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Apr, 1938 Leutnant zur See
1 Oct, 1939 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Jun, 1942 Kapitänleutnant
April, 1940 Iron Cross 2nd Class
7 May, 1941 U-boat War Badge 1939
15 Jul, 1941 Fleet War Badge
1942 Iron Cross 1st Class
14 Feb, 1944 German Cross in Gold (posthumous)
U-boat Commands
U-boat From To 
U-52  7 Jul, 1941  13 Jan, 1942    No war patrols 
U-610  19 Feb, 1942  8 Oct, 1943  (+)   5 patrols (183 days)

11 Sep 44
Short Sunderland Mk III, RAF s/n ML825, aircraft “AB-D” of No. 423 (General Reconnaissance) Squadron based at Castle Archdale, County Fermanagh, Ireland with Flying Officer J.N. Farren and crew joined HMCS Dunver and HMCS Hespeler in sinking U-484 at 56-51N 08-04W.




Ordered 5 Jun, 1941
Laid down 27 Mar, 1943 Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel (werk 319)
Launched 20 Nov, 1943
Commissioned 19 Jan, 1944 Korvkpt. Wolf-Axel Schaefer
19 Jan, 1944 - 9 Sep, 1944   KrvKpt. Wolf-Axel Schaefer
Career 1 patrol 19 Jan, 1944 - 31 Jul, 1944  5. Flottille (training)
1 Aug, 1944 - 9 Sep, 1944  
3. Flottille (front boat)
Successes No ships sunk or damaged

Sunk 9 Sept 1944 in the North Atlantic north-west of Ireland, in position 55.45N, 11.41W, by depth charges from the British corvette HMS Portchester Castle and the British frigate HMS Helmsdale. 52 dead (all hands lost).

Wolf-Axel Schaefer
Born 3 Mar, 1911 Kiel
Died  9 Sep, 1944 age 33 south of Hebrides

Lucky Rescue
A report on the lucky rescue of a 422 RCAF crew ( De La Paulle's) who had a reduction gear failure and were forced to ditch in Biscay.
A 228 Squadron Sunderland located them a few days later and landed to pick them up.
A rare occasion on which an aircraft landed and got off again - such actions were discouraged and were very laden with risk.

The 228 Squadron crew which picked them up would crash on the Bluestacks six months later while trying to get into Lough Erne in bad weather.




Don Wells second pilot – Jacques de le Paulle’s crew.

A little before nine my place as co-pilot was taken by Romeo Freer and I went down to the ward room which was empty of other crew members. My hand never reached the chocolate for at that instant I heard the sound of an engine backfire.

My head whipped around towards the right from where the noise had come from and I saw, with a terrible numb sensation, that the starboard outer engine had a white hot fire burning in the air intake below the engine.

Acrid fumes came through the wing root and something told me not to panic and that our Engineer, Ken Middleton, would soon have the fire extinguished, and we would be able to return to base on the remaining three engines. He was looking at me and, seemed about to say something, when a tremendous explosion rocked the aircraft. I was knocked backwards.

The starboard engine was hanging down from the wing root and was covered in oily smoke and flame. As I watched in some awe the engine broke loose from its mountings and fell towards the sea, taking the float and a good bit of the wing with it.

With my shoulder braced against the wardroom door frame I felt the crash and almost immediate deceleration from 100 miles per hour to a stop. A great wall of water came crashing through and our Sunderland came to a stop and started to settle by the nose. We were 200 miles West of Cape Finisterre in the Bay of Biscay. It seemed sure we would not stay afloat long.

Time seems to pass very quickly when one is trying to get out of a sinking aircraft Heading for the back door seemed like a long journey; the walkway was steep and slippery. Holroyd and Joyce had opened the door and had untied the dinghy from its storage space near the rear turret. With Mae West tied I jumped, hit the water feet first and came up spluttering. The dinghy was near by and I clung to it while I caught my breath.

Our first Navigator, Albert Bolton, provided data (position report) while the Skipper was bandaging his head. Albert had received a rather severe cut during the crash and had lost quite a lot of blood. Our first aid kit provided the bandages and the Skipper soon had him looking, from the nose up, like an Egyptian mummy.

Earl Hiscox, our radioman reported that an S.O.S. had been transmitted, but he had not had time to receive an acknowledgement, and no map position had been sent for lack of time.

There was no talk of food because no one was hungry, and we spent the rest of the day trying to dry our clothes and making preparations for the night. We worked hard during the afternoon trying to get the two rafts tied together and putting out some drogues, which would keep us lined up with the waves and prevent wave-top tipping. We also released the baffles which were fitted below each dinghy and which were intended to prevent the violent swinging to which these rafts were prone.

When dusk came we broke out the spray sheets and in preparation for the night put them over our heads. The wind came up after dark and it began to rain. On top of that the waves began to break over the sides of the dinghies, soaking every one to the skin. Quite a few curses were heard during the lulls in the storm.

Everyone recovered their spirits when the sun came up. The Skipper supervised the first issue of rations. About six that evening, September 5, the wind came up again and we took turns holding the connecting lines between the two dinghies so as to prevent the  rubber tabs on the sides from tearing off.

Someone thought they could hear engines and Ralph Ruskin shouted, “There it is.” Someone ripped the igniting tab from a flare and a red star shot up. The aircraft did not alter course. Suddenly the Skipper shouted, “Douse that second flare; it has six engines.” The only a/c that fitted the description was a Blohm & Voss BV222, called The Viking, a German troop transport. What it was doing in the Bay of Biscay we could not imagine.

The next day, September 6, 1943, our fourth day away from based, was uneventful until about four in the afternoon, when, purely by accident an American Liberator came and by and flew right over our heads at low altitude. We were delighted to see the Liberator drop a parachute bag….a dozen oranges and three packs of cigarettes, and a scrawled note that read; ‘DON’T GO AWAY, HELP IS COMING’.

An hour went by until a Squadron 228 Sunderland flying boat (F/L Armstrong) appeared. The wind had increased and we could see that the landing with swells would be both difficult and dangerous, however they made a fine landing. We were plucked from the sea and the take-off was an experience which no one would want to go through twice.


Jacques de le Paulle's Bay of Biscay Crew

BR: David MacPherson, Earl Hescox, Ken Middleton, Bill Holroyo, Roy Jollymore
MR: Art Joyce, Romeo Freer, Jackques de le Paulle, Al Bolton, Don Wells
FR: R.M. Fisher, Ralph Ruskin

Some photos of U-Boats which surrendered at the end of the war - these show a line of boats on their way to Derry.The following U-Boat photos came from the collection of Pilot Murray Wettlaufer  RCAF 423, who was one of a number of men who travelled up to Lisahally from Castle Archdale - they were allowed to view but not to enter the boats.
Murray was second pilot on Al Bishop's crew when they sank U-=489 , a Milch Cow SE of Iceland in August 43:

Photo  #1

Photo #2

Photo #3

Photo #4


Surrendered U-boat

Meanwhile at nearby Culmore Station a group of  German sailors in foul weather gear await a train to take them to Belfast and on to the POW camps.

It may be an act of non co operation in that they have turned their backs and faces away from the camera

Surrendered U-boats

Surrendered U-boats

Surrendered U-boats


Surrendered German U-boats escorted to Maydown- Northern Ireland.


Surrendered U- boats at Maydown- Northern Ireland.


Surrendered U-boat off west coast of Ireland.


Surrendered U-boat near west coast of Ireland.

Special thanks to:
 James Stewart     N.Ireland 
Joe O'Loughlin     N.Ireland
    Breege Mc Cusker  N.Ireland 
John Newall         Canada
                               Richard Lebek  Canada ( crew member U-672)
Norman Lebek   Canada
 Roland Berr      Germany
                                Harry Lorkin   U.K. (RAF 226 Squadron)          
     John Rogers          UK            
                                    N.Jack Logan       Canada   (RCAF 422 Squadron)
              Les and Maureen Ingram  Scotland
   Bill Barber            Canada    
  Robert Walsh        N.Ireland  
                         Capt. Jerry Mason USN (ret.)  Canada         
             Blake Wimperis      Canada              
                                   Robert Quirk     Canada                                          
                                    Norm Muffitt          Canada                                      
                         Lt/Col S. Beaton     Canada  (Camp Borden)
       Stephanie Pinder     USA            
    Alec (Johnny) Johnston    N.Z.
                 Stephen Kerr           N.Ireland             
                                   Reg Firby               Canada (RCAF 423 Squadron)
         Maurice Duffill         Australia     
                   John Hartshorn              UK                     
                                  Don Macfie      Canada ( RCAF 422/423 Squadron)
                               Frank Cauley   Canada  ( RCAF 422 Squadron)
                                Harold O'Brien  Canada  ( RCAF 423 Squadron)
                                   James Newall          UK        ( RAF 423 Squadron)
      Ian Meadows                    UK
                     Bill Baker                 Canada               
John Taylor      Canada
            Gordon Burke              Canada
          Carol Whittle                    U.K.

Last Update on Dec 07 , 2010