Local History by Seán Beattie

Lough Foyle, Maritime, WWII

The U Boat Surrender on Lough Foyle

There were 470 U – Boats in the Germany navy and they played a deadly role in the elimination of millions of tonnage of shipping on the high seas. On April 20 Hitler committed suicide and the Regenbogen (Rainbow) was put into operation. This involved the planned mass scuttling of the German fleet. But the plan fell apart on May 8 when Germany surrendered unconditionally. Some Nazis had hoped that U Boats would provide one last escape route for the elite to South America. 

By 18 May 1945, seventy years ago, twelve U Boats had been captured and had docked at Lisahally. They were taken by the British Navy following the ending of the Battle of the Atlantic and were placed under escort to proceed up Lough Foyle where the official surrender took place. The event was captured by Pathe News and can be seen on you tube.  The subs, flying a White Ensign,  were escorted by two frigates, the Bligh and the Kempthorne. Two of the subs were 700 tons and the remainder were 500 tons. Some were destined for the Far East but it was considered that they would be too uncomfortable: the hulls had been specially strengthened to face the demands of the Atlantic. 

U1305 had been under the command of Ober Leut. Christiansen. U1009 was under the captaincy of O-L Hilzendort U1005 was under O-L Schwarz. Other captains were Lubele, Creigskor, von Reisen and Schmoechel. 

The scuttling operation took place off Inishtrahull where the wrecks lie offshore. Some years ago Derry City Council set about recovering a U Boat to be placed outside the planned maritime museum at Ebrington but following the death of a diver the plan was abandoned. 

Anecdotes surrounding the surrender abound. According to one story, U Boat captains appeared in a pub in Moville and had a drink. Others tell of Nazi officers landing on Inishtrahull but no photos exist to prove it one way or another. Lough Foyle played a key role in these events marking the end of World War 2 and there were low-key celebrations in Derry to mark the 70th anniversary. 


  1. Betty Morrow

    Thanks Sean, U Boat history very good, I was seven but do not remember!

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