IN READING THE ARTICLE ABOUT THE SS TRURO in the November 2009 edition of Sea Breezes I was very impressed by the chivalry of the U-Boat captain towards the master and crew of the Truro, (such a contrast to the indifference shown by most U-Boat commanders as the war progressed,) so much so, that I very much hoped that he survived the war. Accordingly I looked up the records for U-36 and gleaned the following, which may be of interest to other readers.
On the 4th Dec 1939 U-36 outward - bound in the North Sea 57 dgs.N 2 dgs 47”E and 75 miles south west of the Lister Light was sighted by HM Submarine Salmon. The British Co, Bickford, originally thought that the U-Boat's small conning tower was nothing more than wreckage, but when he noted that it moved independently he attacked and fired two torpedoes. From Salmon's point of view the attack was not particularly professional as the submarine lost trim on firing and one torpedo broke surface. However order was restored in time for Bickford to see the U-36 vanish in a tremendous explosion the wreckage from which was blown as high as 200 feet in the air. Of the 40 crew, there were no survivors.
In the light of the circumstances, the U-Boat's captain's remark that he hoped that the war would not last for long, perhaps only two months, was sadly very prophetic for him and his crew. In your article the U-Boat captain is stated as Trohlich, whereas in the account I quote his name is given as Wilhelm Frohlich, Kapitanleutnant, but I am sure it is the same man.
W G RUTHERFORD
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