MV Kerlogue-The Neutral ship that got attacked by the Allies and the Germans and survived.

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The MV Kerloguehas become the exemplar of neutral Irish ships during World War II. She was very small. She was attacked by both sides and rescued people from both sides. She was almost sunk by a German mine and was attacked by the Royal Air Force, being left for dead. She rescued the Wild Rose of Liverpool and the survivors of the German destroyer Z27  and its escort, the survivors of which, in the latter case, were brought back to Ireland and interned until the end of hostilities.

On the 2nd April 1941, German bombers attacked a British convoy.  A crippled collier, the Wild Rose of Liverpool was left behind.  The Kerlogue at the time was under the command of Captain Samuel Owens of Carrickfergus and was on passage from Wexford to Cardiff.  Seeing distress rockets she immediately altered course went to the aid of the Wild Rose.  Due to the bomb attack, her engines were disabled and her two lifeboats were unable to be launched.  Captain Owens took the English crew of twelve on board.  The Kerlogue took the Wild Rose in tow and beached her on Rosslare strand on the Wexford coast.  When the salvage case was heard in Dublin, Justice Conor Maguire stated that: “The master of the Kerlogue had shown enterprise and courage on the occasion.

On 7 October 1941, while sailing from Swansea to Wexford, the Kerlogue struck a mine in Cardigan Bay.

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On 23 October 1943, 130 miles (210 km) south of Ireland, on passage from Port Talbot to Lisbon with a cargo of coal,the Kerlogue was circled by an RAAF Sunderland flying boat.

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Three hours later, she was attacked by two initially unidentified aircraft, later found to have been Mosquito fighters of No. 307 Polish Night Fighter Squadron.For twenty minutes they repeatedly dived on the Kerlogue firing their cannons. Another RAAF Sunderland came by at six in the evening. By Aldis lamp, the Kerlogue requested an escort and medical assistance. The Sunderland replied that help could not be given.

The Kerlogue limped back to Cobh. When her cargo of coal was discharged, shell fragments of British origin were found. It was that cargo of coal which saved the Kerlogue; without it, the shells would have penetrated her hull.

The British Naval Attaché in Dublin reported to the Director of Naval Intelligence that it was “unfortunate from a British point of view” that Captain Fortune had been involved in the Kerlogue incident as he was “always ready to pass on any information in his possession”.The RAF would not apportion blame on the Poles, as the Kerlogue was “east of 12 degrees west”. According to an Admiralty report, the RAF had been “warned to expect the Kerlogue”, they “knew she was at sea on the day of the attack”, there was “nothing suspicious” about the ship, “anyone but Polish pilots would have hesitated to attack”. The matter was considered by the War Cabinet which authorised ex gratia payments to the injured crew.

Captain Desmond Fortune, who would never walk unaided again, was succeeded by Captain Thomas Donohue. He had been captain of The Lady Belle of Waterford when she was bombed by the Luftwaffe. Donohue had spent eight hours in a lifeboat mid-Atlantic when the German U-607 torpedoed the SS Irish Oak.

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On 29 December 1943, following repairs in Cork, the Kerlogue was 360 miles (580 km) south of Fastnet Rock, on passage from Lisbon to Dublin with a cargo of oranges, when she was circled by a German long range reconnaissance aircraft signalling “SOS” and heading southeast. The Kerlogue altered course to southeast, where she came upon an appalling scene. The German Narvik-class destroyer Z27 and two Elbing class torpedo boats, T25 and T26, had been sunk.

More than 700 men, most of them dead, were in the water. They had intended to escort Alsterufer,a blockade runner. The cruisers HMS Glasgow and Enterprise  as part of Operation Stonewall, with their 6-inch (150 mm) guns sank the German ships while beyond their range of fire (more than ten miles)

The Kerlogue spent ten hours plucking survivors from the water. 168 were rescued. Four died on board. This was remarkable, given that the Kerlogue was only 142 feet (43 m) long. The cargo of oranges saved the rescued from dehydration. Captain Donohue ignored the German request to bring them to Brest or La Rochelle. He also ignored British radio orders from Land’s End to go to Fishguard. He berthed at Cobh on 1 January 1944.

The rescued Germans remained at the Curragh internment camp until the war was over. Two are buried in Glencree German War Cemetery.

The Nazi German minister in Dublin, Dr Eduard Hempel, wrote a letter to Captain Donoghue, applauding him and his crew for their “exemplary deed, worthy of the great tradition of Irish gallantry and humanity,” and he sent a letter of thanks to the hospital matron at the Military Hospital, Cork Barracks.

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Crew members of the MV Kerlogue, from left to right, Tom Grannell, Tom O’Neill, Dick Roche, Gary Roche (father of Dick Roche, the former minister and FF TD for Wicklow), Chum Roche

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In the post-war period, the rescue of the Germans was rarely mentioned, until 27 April 1994, when then-Senator Dick Roche spoke, in the Senate, of his father’s role:

“… My late father was a seaman with the Wexford Steamship Company. He served the nation, like so many young men, through dangerous times in the war years. In every sense he and his colleagues put their lives on the line day after day, in ships which today would not be licensed to go on the high seas, to bring supplies to this nation. Many of his colleagues and friends and many people from Wexford and around the coast paid the ultimate price in serving this nation by losing their lives. The ships were so rickety, old and derelict that we would not go to sea in them today. Yet, these brave, perhaps foolhardy, men crossed the Atlantic, went to the Mediterranean and North African coast and kept Ireland supplied with vital provisions. My father’s ship, the Kerlogue, was involved in one of the great rescues of the war. One of the proudest possessions I have is a decoration awarded to him and other members of the crew for rescuing German sailors in the Bay of Biscay in December 1943, when they hauled hundreds of young men from the water … … “

The Kerlogue was sold to Norway in 1957 and was wrecked off Tromsø in 1960.

On 27 May 1994 the German Navy expressed its thanks in a ceremony at the National Maritime Museum of Ireland attended by President Mary Robinson. Some sketches of the rescue, (reproduced on this page) drawn while in the Curragh were presented and remain on display with other artefacts.

The rescue by the Kerlogue has been recreated in a novel entitled, The Lonely Sea and Sky by the Irish poet and novelist, Dermot Bolger, whose father sailed during the war on the Kerlogue’s sister ship, the MV Edenvale. Bolger’s novel is part historical fiction and part coming-of-age tale in charting the maiden voyage of a fictional fourteen-year-old Wexford boy, Jack Roche, who gets a job as a cabin boy on the Kerlogue in December 1943, on the eve of this treacherous wartime journey to Portugal. Jack has lost his seafaring father on board the Kyleclare, sunk by a U-boat on this same route, and goes to sea to support his family. His innate decency makes him join in this dangerous rescue of members of a navy whom he passionately hates for having killed his father. He comes to see the terrified German survivors not as part of a vicious murder machine but as shivering, wounded individuals, some little older than him, caught in a war that is not of their own making. The novel is premised around a view that The Kerlogue’s crew obeyed an unwritten code to save any lives they could. In risking their lives, they recognised the drowning Germans not are combatants, but as fellow sailors and honoured what sailors traditionally believe the initials SOS stand for: “Save our Souls”

The Sinking of the HMS Courageous

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On September 15 1939, a convoy contact was made due west of the English Channel, in an area the British called the Western Approaches. The sea lanes were abuzz with traffic and some successes against British shipping had occurred in the early days of the war. To provide at least some form of protection for these ships, the Admiralty had deployed the old aircraft carrier HMS Courageous with a destroyer escort screen to conduct anti-submarine patrols.

Launched in February 1916 and commissioned in January 1917, the HMS Courageous was originally laid down as a Battle Cruiser,

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being converted into an aircraft carrier between June 1924 and May 1928. A hangar and flight deck were installed aft of the hull with the original armament of two twin 15-inch guns being removed and replaced with 4.7 inch anti-aircraft guns. The light armament meant that she had to rely on her screening escorts for protection against surface ships.

When Donitz received word of the convoy contact, he ordered all boats in the Western Approaches to converge on the convoy. That included Otto Schuhart in U-29 and Ernst-Gunther Heinicke in U-53.

Searching for the convoy on September 17, Heinicke found and attacked the 5,000 ton British freighter, Kafristan with a combination of gunfire and torpedoes. The ASW fleet of the HMS Courageous was close by. Two of her destroyer escorts (out of four) and Swordfish biplanes from the Courageous were dispatched to the area of the Kafristan sinking to hunt Heinicke.

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Meanwhile to the east, Schuhart in U-29 was still searching for the convoy. While running submerged, he spotted a Swordfish biplane instead.

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A Swordfish 300 miles out in the open sea could only mean one thing – that an aircraft carrier had to be close by. Keeping a sharp watch, at 1800 hours a puff of smoke was spotted on the horizon. It was the carrier Courageous. Schuhart sent his crew to battle stations and adjusted for an interception course.

But he could not mount an attack. Planes were circling over the carrier and the two remaining destroyer escorts were clearly visible. He later wrote in his log “At that time it looked like a hopeless operation. Because of the aircraft, I could not surface and my underwater speed was less than 8 knots while the carrier could do 26. But we were told during our training to always stay close and that is exactly what I did, following him submerged”.

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Schuhart trailed on for another one and a half hours, all the while losing distance with the carrier. Then suddenly at 1930 hours, the carrier turned into the wind to launch aircraft, inadvertently placing the ship in perfect position for a torpedo attack. By 1940 hours, U-29 was in position and Schuhart fired all three forward torpedoes from less than 3,000 yards. Schuhart logged “the vast size of the target upset all normal calculations and in any case, I was looking straight into the sun”

Just 500 yards away, while the torpedoes were still making its run, Schuhart observed through his periscope lens as one of the destroyers sailed by, still unaware of the impending attack. To evade, he dived deep – to a depth of 180 feet, the deepest he had ever dived. Then, in the creaking silence of U-boat’s pressure hull, the crew heard two resounding explosions. Two torpedoes had it the target and exploded with such force that Schuhart thought he had been attacked. The crew cheered, although they all knew what was to follow next – an impending depth charge attack.

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They braced themselves for the attack and minutes later, one of the destroyers picked up the U-29 on sonar. The second destroyer rushed to the location to join the hunt and both attacked with such fury and ferocity that during the pounding, Schuhart thought he had lost the U-29. The boat reeled and creaked under the force of the explosion which lasted for hours. Then at 2340 hours, the last depth charge exploded. Both destroyers had expended all depth charges and were now weaponless in attacking the enemy down below. Silently easing away, Schuhart in the U-29 made good his escape. As soon as he surfaced, he radioed to Donitz, “Courageous destroyed. U-29 homebound”.

Meanwhile, back at the sinking of the Courageous, a Dutch passenger liner Veendam was passing nearby.

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Eye witnesses account that a huge white cloud had engulfed the Courageous. They thought it was a smoke screen and paid little attention until two tremendous explosions ripped through the carrier. Pieces of steel and dismembered aircraft shot upwards as with the flames and oil slick which soon followed. The Courageous sank in less than 15 minutes with the loss of 519 lives, including her commander Captain W T Makeig-Jones. Her total complement was 1,260 officers and ratings (including air group), and two squadrons of Fairey Swordfish aircraft (48 planes). The Veendam and a British freighter Collingsworth participated in the rescue, fishing survivors from the oily waters.

By the next morning of September 18, news of the sinking had been broadcast worldwide. The sinking of the HMS Courageous was the first U-boat offensive against the Royal Navy, and more importantly, Schuhart’s victory prompted the Admiralty to withdraw all three remaining carriers from the Western Approaches. The first naval engagement turned out to be a resounding victory, as carriers were not to be seen in those waters for another four years.

This was precisely what Donitz had wanted, as the withdrawal of ASW vessels allowed his U-boats to continue with their sinkings unabated. Politically, Hitler was neither pleased, nor displeased. He was still hopeful of a diplomatic solution with Great Britain and did not want to further antagonize the Western Powers by sinking a major capital warship. However, no specific orders had been issued otherwise and in fact, the Kriegsmarine was ecstatic. Donitz noted gleefully in his diary “A wonderful success”.

Schuhart was awarded the Iron Cross First Class and the entire crew the Iron Cross Second Class. In tonnage sunk for a single patrol, his tally was 41,905 tons which was to stand as a record high for a very long time.

The U-29 was a Type VIIA U-boat, an oceangoing boat which had four bow and one stern torpedo tube.

HMS Courageous was sunk on September 17 1939 at 1940 hours at the Western Approaches (Southwest of Ireland), Grid BE3198, 150nm WSW of Mizen Head, Ireland.

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Her sister ship, the HMS Glorious and her two escorting destroyers, Ardent and Acasta was to suffer the same fate on June 8 1940, during an attack by two German battle cruisers, Gneisenau and Scharnhorst

 

German invasion of Ireland

Before you all start telling me I should look back at the history books, I know that Ireland was never invaded by the Germans during WWII. Except for the Belfast Blitz(pictures above) the island of Ireland remained unscathed during the war. The republic of Ireland was neutral, but I believe more due to it’s geographical location it wasn’t invaded rather then it’s political neutrality. Had it been between France and Britain I think Ireland would have been occupied by the Germans.

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However, this doesn’t mean the Germans had no plans for Ireland. There were several planned operations foe the invasion of Ireland the main ones being ‘Operation Green’ and Operation Dove'(sometimes also referred to as ‘Operation Pigeon’) .

Hitler loved the idea of Ireland and was a great admirer of Irish Folk music, in fact in 1936 he had invited Sean Dempsey ,uileann pipe player, to play for him in Berlin.

Dublin was earmarked by the Nazis as one of six regional administrative centers for Britain and Ireland right after Dunkirk when an Allied collapse seemed imminent.

Had the occupation taken place, the Germans thought it crucial that their advancing units reach Ireland as soon as possible after the initial invasion.

The plan would have seen the fourth and seventh infantry divisions of the Germany Army being deployed to Ireland. The German 4th army corps in particular had a brutal reputation in battle and inflicted many civilian casualties as they secured the Polish corridor to Warsaw during the invasion of Poland in 1939.

Their advance, had the fourth and seventh been deployed to Ireland, would have been rapid – up to 100km a day – and their brutality would have been beyond doubt.

Fifty thousand troops in total were allocated for the Irish invasion with an initial batch of 4,000 crack engineers, motorised infantry, commando and panzer units to reach the Irish shore after having launched from France.

Operation Dove (“Unternehmen Taube” in German) also sometimes known as Operation Pigeon, was an Abwehr sanctioned mission devised in early 1940. The plan envisioned the transport of IRA Chief of Staff Seán Russell to Ireland, and on the arrival of Frank Ryan in Berlin three days before the launch of the operation, it was also decided to transport him during the operation.

Seán Russell had arrived in Berlin on 5 May 1940, four days after arriving in Genoa from the United States.Russell was informed of Operation Mainau, the plan to parachute Dr. Hermann Görtz into Ireland. Russell was asked to brief Görtz on Ireland before his departure that night, but missed his takeoff from the Fritzlar airfield near Kassel.

By 20 May, Russell had begun training with Abwehr in the use of the latest German explosive ordnance. This training was conducted at the Abwehr training school/lab in Berlin-Tegel, which specialised in the design of explosives as everyday objects. Russell also visited the training area for the Brandenburg Regiment, the ‘Quenzgut,’ where he observed trainees and instructors working with sabotage materials in a field environment. Because he received explosives training, his return to Ireland with a definite sabotage objective was planned by German Intelligence. His total training time with German Intelligence lasted over three months.

While Görtz had landed successfully, the capture of the German agents from Operation Lobster I did not prevent Abwehr chief Wilhelm Canaris allowing the transport of Russell to continue. Both Russell and Frank Ryan departed aboard U-65 from Wilhelmshaven on 8 August — the mission was dubbed Operation Dove.

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Russell became ill during the journey and complained of stomach pains. U-65 was not staffed with a doctor and he died on 14 August 100 miles  short of Galway. He was buried at sea and the mission aborted.

Operation Green (German: Unternehmen Grün) often also referred to as Case Green (Fall Grün) or Plan Green (Plan Grün), was a full-scale operations plan for a German invasion of Ireland in support of Operation Sea Lion (the plan to invade the UK). Despite its detailed nature, Green is thought to have been designed only as a credible threat, a feint, not an actual operation. Plan W, a planned occupation of all of the state by British forces, was drafted by the British military in secret liaison with the Irish government to counteract any German invasion.

German interest in Green and Operation Sea Lion must always be understood in the context of their overall strategic plan. That, first and foremost, was Operation Barbarossa, the invasion and destruction of the Soviet Union. They had little interest in tying up military resources in England or France, other than doing what was necessary to prevent the British and French from interfering with the invasion of the Soviet Union. During Britain’s darkest hour, the Germans were, in fact, secretly marshalling most of their resources to attack their ally in the occupation of Poland: the Soviet Union.

Implementation of Green was the responsibility of General der Flieger Leonhard Kaupisch, commander of the German Fourth and Seventh Army Corps, Army Group B. The originator of the idea for Green is thought to be newly promoted Field Marshal Fedor von Bock, Army Group B.

Bock had operational command for the western flank under Operation Sea Lion. Once collated, thirty-two copies of Green were distributed as “Top Secret” on 8 August 1940 to the German High Command; a number of copies survived World War II.

Green was conceived in early- to mid-1940 and the plan was drawn up in August 1940, under three weeks after Hitler issued his initial warning order for Operation Sea Lion on 16 July 1940. The plan was widely circulated and even publicised during the period 1940–1941. By 1942 Green had even made its way into the hands of the Irish military via the British military and was subsequently translated into English by Irish Military Intelligence G2 Branch. This has raised suspicion that intercepted ‘chatter’ about Green may have been aimed at creating a ‘bogeyman’ in the minds of British military planners on their western flank. There was some truth to this; one example is General major Walter Warlimont’s recollection from 28 June 1940 of an operational instruction issued by the High Command. The directive was to mislead the enemy on a possible invasion of neutral Ireland using “all available information media”.

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The intention was to spread rumours that German forces were preparing a landing in Ireland to place a further stranglehold on Britain, reinforcing the current “siege”.It is possible that these efforts heightened the state of alert and were a cause of alarm in Britain, leading to the British expending significant effort in trying to convince the Irish government to abandon neutrality and side with the Allies.

Despite the propaganda, Green was an actual military plan that was given real consideration. Although Hitler had postponed Sea Lion on 17 September 1940, he took up a personal interest again on 3 December 1940 after hearing of radio reports alluding to a British invasion of Ireland. Hitler then ordered Raeder’s naval staff to investigate the feasibility of occupying Ireland to pre-empt any British attempt. However, at the time Hitler seemed already convinced that any landing should be by invitation only:

“..a landing in Ireland can be attempted only if Ireland requests help. For the present our envoy [assumed to be Dr. Eduard Hempel of the German Legation] must ascertain whether De Valera desires support and whether he wishes to have his military equipment supplemented by captured British war material (guns and ammunition), which could be sent to him in independent ships. Ireland is important to the Commander in Chief, Air, [Göring] as his base for attacks on the north-west ports of Britain, although weather conditions must be investigated. The occupation of Ireland might lead to the end of the war

The operatives were initially to land on Ireland’s South-East coast where they expected to be met with only token resistance, and then to aerially bomb targets throughout the Irish Free State as it was then known.

After this initial landing and advancement phase, ground troops of the 4th and 7th army corps would have begun so-called “probing attacks” on the Irish Army based in Cork and Clonmel, followed by a push through Laois-Offaly towards the Army’s Curragh Camp base in Co. Kildare.

Some units would have reached the outskirts of Dublin just 48 hours after having landed in the South-East, such would have been the pace of their progress.

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The Nazi politburo in Dublin was to have far reaching executive powers and would have had instructions to dismantle, and if necessary, liquidate, any of Ireland’s remaining indigenous political apparatus, intellectual leadership and any non-Aryan social institutions. The GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) would have been closed and Irish Jews would have been murdered en masse.

Beach-heads considered in Green included the Waterford-Wexford sector (favoured), the estuary of the River Shannon near Limerick,

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Galway Bay, Donegal Bay with Killala, Ballina and Sligo,Lough Foyle with Derry, the ‘Bay of Belfast’ (Belfast Lough), and Cobh in Cork.

The landings were to be effected by sea craft available in occupied France at the time, but there were few in existence and Operation Sea Lion was to have priority- further reasons why Raeder was not happy with Green. Green was expected to utilise over 50,000 German troops and Sea Lion was expected to use 160,000 but for Green the Germans only found two steamships available around the north-western ports of France- the French Versailles and the German Eule together with three small coasters: Mebillo, Clio and Franzine.

It is also worth pointing out that to get to Ireland the departing ships would have had to circumnavigate the British coastline at Cornwall. Every vessel taking part in Green was to carry anti-aircraft weaponry indicating that the planners expected the Royal Air Force (RAF) to intercept them, although air cover from the Luftwaffe’s West of France Air Command was to be provided as part of Sea Lion.

Ireland would have been ruthlessly subject to German martial law, with curfews also being imposed on the local population, as well as plans to commandeer resources from locals. To this end an annex was added to the plan listing all petrol stations and garages in Munster and the Midlands. Nothing wasn’t planned for.

Livestock, food, fuel, and forced labor would all have been used by the Germans in their advance northwards, which would have pitted them squarely against the civilian population.

Ireland’s army at the time of 7,600 regulars and 11,000 reserves would have been completely unable to handle the onslaught from the invading force.  The army was also incapable of mounting large-scale maneuvers and was poorly armed. Many companies even traveled by bicycle!

There was no involvement or prior knowledge of Green by the IRA in Ireland.

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It is likely, however, that the possibility of such planning was on the mind of Sean Russell and his acting Chief of Staff Stephen Hayes. Russell is known to have reached out to the German Foreign Ministry and Abwehr during his time in Berlin, and Hayes is known to have sanctioned Plan Kathleen before it was delivered to the Abwehr in Berlin in August 1940. However, no operational instructions were issued to Abwehr agents to gather data on Ireland in preparation for Green. This is possibly because the planners felt they had enough militarily useful data already, but likely because Green, although thorough, was created in a hurry. Later editions contained no data from the IRA.

When Winston Churchill got wind of the German plans, he drafted detailed plans for a counter-attack to be launched from Northern Ireland. The plan, codenamed Plan W, envisaged the Irish and British armies fighting side by side to repel the intrusive German forces.

Ireland’s neutrality was respected and they emerged largely unscathed from the war, but had the invasion taken place, there could well have been large-scale casualties.

 

Forgotten History-Irish WWII Losses

Even though Ireland was a neutral country during WWII it didn’t escape the war completely unscathed.

It was especially it’s mercantile marine which was affected by the German Navy.

Ireland, unlike the majority of more recent independent nations, made no attempt to encourage the development of her own mercantile marine. Each year the fleet declined: from 127 in 1923, until in September 1939 they had only 56 ships flying the Irish flag, none ocean-going, all designed for the short sea trades.

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This tiny fleet increased with the formation of Irish Shipping Ltd. in March 1941 when, under great difficulty, 15 ocean-going dry cargo ships were purchased or chartered.

16 Ships were lost in unprovoked actions. I will not be talking  about all 16 but I will focus to the ones which were registered in my hometown of Limerick.

The City of Limerick

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City of Limerick was the first Irish ship to be sunk by German aircraft in World War Two. Owned by Palgrave Murphy Ltd. and commanded by Captain Robert Ferguson she departed Cartagena, Spain for Liverpool in early July 1940. At 8 a.m. on 15th July, when 100 miles west of Ushant, she was attacked from astern by an aircraft with machine-gun fire. As the plane roared overhead it dropped a stick of bombs which hit the ship but failed to explode. It returned for another attack and this time two men were killed. The ship was now stopped and disabled and the captain gave the order to abandon her. As the crew pulled away in lifeboats more German planes appeared and following further attacks the ship sank. After a cold night in the boats the survivors were rescued next day by a Belgian trawler and landed at Penzance, Cornwall.

Luimneach

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On 4 Sep, 1940, the un-escorted and neutral Luimneach (Master Eric Septimus Jones) was stopped by U-46 with two shots across her bow west-southwest of the Scilly Isles and was sunk at 20.00 hours by gunfire. There are differences in the accounts given by the captains. Endrass claimed that Capt Eric Jones and his crew “lost their heads completely” with one man jumping into the water, at the shot across the bows by his U-boat. But Jones was an experienced captain. The Luimneach had survived twelve aerial attacks during the Spanish Civil War. He took the ship’s papers with him and they are now in the Dublin Public Records Office. Following an inquiry, on 4 March 1941, Dönitz concluded that the U-boat acted correctly in sinking an “abandoned ship”. Endrass did not converse with the Luimneach, who were of the opinion that he was Italian. Endrass said that the flag was “British or Irish”. There were two lifeboats, One was picked up by a Spanish trawler and brought to Spain. The other was picked up by a French trawler. Those landed in France were detained by the Nazis. Two of the crew were British and were imprisoned. The Chief Officer, from Belfast, also had British papers, but because of his advanced age was allowed to live in Paris. The Second Engineer was Dutch and was allowed to go to Antwerp. The remainder returned to Ireland via Portugal.

The Crew

Captain E. Jones, Wales Captain’s Boat Returned
Chief Officer J McKelvey Belfast Mate’s Boat Paris
Second Officer C. Meriditt, Dublin; Captain’s Boat Returned
Chief Engineer R. Spence, Dublin; Captain’s Boat Returned
Second Engineer H. Madsen Antwerp Mate’s Boat Antwerp
Cook S. Tice, London; Captain’s Boat Returned
Steward R. Wilkes, London; Captain’s Boat Returned
Able Seaman A. Robert­son, Limerick; Captain’s Boat Returned
Able Seaman B. Quirk, Kilmore Quay, Captain’s Boat Returned
Able Seaman M. Carrol, Dungarvan Captain’s Boat died
Able Seaman J Moran Tarbet, Kerry Mate’s Boat Returned
Able Seaman M Curran Tarbet, Kerry Mate’s Boat Returned
Fireman M McCarthy Tarbet, Kerry Mate’s Boat Returned
Fireman L O’Neill, Glasgow; Captain’s Boat Returned
Fireman E. Richards Bristol Mate’s Boat imprisoned
Fireman N. Bartello Malta Mate’s Boat imprisoned
Fireman T. Conway Dublin Mate’s Boat Returned
Fireman John. Confrey Dun Laoghaire Mate’s Boat Returned

Clonlara

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Notes on event At 23.31 hours on 22 August 1941, U-564 fired a salvo of four torpedoes at the convoy OG-71 west of Aveiro, Portugal and observed four different detonations and three columns of fire, later lifeboats were seen. Suhren thought that he had sunk two ships and damaged two others. However, only two ships were hit and sunk, the Empire Oak and Clonlara.

The Clonlara (Master Joseph Reynolds) had picked up 13 survivors from Alva on 19 August. The master, ten crew members and nine survivors were lost. Eight crew members and five survivors were picked up by HMS Campion(LtCdr A. Johnson, RNVR) and landed at Gibraltar on 24 August.

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Kyleclare

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Kyleclare was built at Dundee in 1932 for the Limerick Steam Ship Company and up to the outbreak of the war mainly traded from ports in the west of Ireland to Liverpool. The morning of 21st February 1943 saw her departing Lisbon for Dublin as she steamed down the Tagus and into the Atlantic. Two days later she had made good progress northwards and was at 48 50 north, 12 20 west when sighted by U-456 (Kapitanleutnant Max Teichert).

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He manoeuvred into attack position; wind was south-south-west, force 3, sea smooth, gentle swell, good visibility. He later claimed that he had not seen Kyleclare ’s neutrality markings as she was so low in the water, listing to starboard and his periscope was awash. From a distance of 500 metres he fired a fan of three torpedoes. The moment of firing was logged; 2.38 p.m. Central European Time, 23 February 1943. As the torpedoes left the tubes, the submarine rose higher in the water and at that instance Teichert saw the double inscription EIRE on the ship’s side. Seconds later a double explosion echoed throughout the submarine. He proceeded to the position of the sinking but found nothing except wreckage; Kyleclare had disintegrated in a massive cloud of brown smoke. Eighteen Irish lives were blasted into eternity with her.

The crew that perished at sea

Barry, Edward, Wexford Morgan, John, Dublin
Brannock, Patrick, Dublin Mooney, Daniel, Dublin
Brady, Thomas, Galway O’Brien, L., Dublin
deBurca, Diarmuid, Dublin O’Brien, Richard, Dublin
Grimes, Richard, Dublin O’Brien, Daniel, Dublin
Hamilton, A.R., Galway O’Neill, P., Dublin
Hopkins, Philip, Ringsend, Dublin Ryan, Thomas, Rush, Co. Dublin
Larkin, John, Dublin Simms, W.J., Kildare
Lynch, T., Clogherhead, Co. Louth Todd, Ultan,; New Ross