A Second World War U-boat has been found on the bottom of Labrador’s Churchill River, according to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The report – which is yet to be confirmed -- has excited naval historians on both sides of the Atlantic as the fate of more than a dozen German submarines remains unknown to this day.
Most intriguingly, the wreck – which was discovered when the river was scanned recently for three missing local men – lies sixty miles away from the sea. Why on earth was the submarine so far inland? Labrador was strategically important during the Second World War, with nearby Goose Bay serving as a vital refuelling point for Europe-bound aircraft as well as an important US military base. And not so long ago a battery-operated weather station was found elsewhere in Labrador decades after being left in there by another U-boat.
But sixty miles is nothing to a Canadian. So more interesting, perhaps, is last month’s sighting of a U-boat conning tower in Bowmanville, Ontario – 700 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. In this sleepy town near Toronto, a U-505 seems to have surfaced in a local duck pond.
Ian Baron, a retired Ontario Hydro employee and military history buff, built the life-size Bowmanville submarine from scrapyard junk. He’d wanted to make a Mosquito bomber but – as he already has four replica warplanes – his wife Luverne insisted on a change. On a visit to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, Baron saw a real U-505 and decided to recreate the conning tower and upper gun deck for his Canadian b & b.
Baron assembled the replica in his driveway from cast-off corrugated sheet metal. The periscopes were made from old bowling pins and the hatch cover came from a dome-shaped barbecue.
The U-boat was launched (i.e. towed by a tractor into his pond) last month by an enthusiastic band of locals including German-born Ruth Boynton and her ex-British Merchant Marine husband William Boynton. A colour guard from the Bowmanville branch of the Royal Canadian Legion brought an air of reverence to the event for – as is well documented – 100,000 Allied seamen lost their lives because of the actions of U-boats in the North Atlantic during the War.
Back in Ottawa, a German Embassy spokesman said – if the Churchill River wreck is proved to be a U-boat – that the discovery would be ‘sensational and unusual’. Perhaps the ambassador should check out what has come to the surface in central Ontario?
Donnerstag, 2. August 2012
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