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Reincarnation Stories
A U-Boat Sailor

I have been focused on WWI German U-boats since I was a kid, and even imagined crash diving in one in an emergency. I could see everyone clamoring to get down through the conning tower hatch, with the panic and the water pouring in.

I was fascinated by submarines and at a young age started building models of them. Every model was either U-67 or U-68. If I would go on a boat ride and feel the diesel engines under the deck, I felt happy and peaceful.

In junior high school, I built a 6 foot model of a U-boat, and I painted on the conning tower U-68 and what I thought was a German sounding word - "Gutzel" or something similar. A year or so later I read that except for one letter, that word was the name of the captain of the U-68, which was sunk by the British Q-ship Farnborough. I don't think I was the captain as he was killed immediately, and I remember crash diving.

To save torpedoes and to do the humane thing, many U-boats surfaced and let the enemy crew abandon ship before the U-boat scuttled it. The U-68 was trying to save lives, but the Q-ship tricked it and we were sunk. My eyes are a little damp now thinking about it. Because of the Q-ships, U-boats could no longer give that kind of compassionate warning. War is hell, and it is strange that these feelings are so strong now.


Posted 3/30/13