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Survivors of the Scharnhorst

Discussion in 'Germany at Sea!' started by Watspoon, Nov 20, 2017.

  1. Watspoon

    Watspoon New Member

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    Hey guys, I was just wondering whether any Scharnhorst survivors are still alive.
     
  2. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    Hello Watspoon welcome to the Forums! I am not sure if there are any of the (30 something was it?) survivors left....
     
  3. Highway70

    Highway70 Member

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    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
  4. Watspoon

    Watspoon New Member

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    Alright thanks, sad to see that so few WWII veterans are still with us, such as Bernhard Heuer on the Bismarck.
     
  5. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    According to this site, only ten were still alive in 2008. It's unlikely that any are still alive. Axis Re-enactment forum
     
  6. Watspoon

    Watspoon New Member

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    Alright, I believe Matrosen Obergefreiter Wilhelm "Willi" Alsen is still alive

    I concluded this after looking for a painting of all things of the Scharnhorst.
    They have a small bio about him as he signed a couple paintings. The one I was looking at was also signed by Erich Rudorffer and it showed he died in 2016, meaning it must have been recently updated. This could mean He is still alive, but I am not too certain.
    Anyways I hope he is, and if he is best of luck to him

    Source Matrosen Obgefreiter Wilhelm Alsen - Naval art with the signature of Matrosen Obgefreiter Wilhelm Alsen


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Watspoon

    Watspoon New Member

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  8. lance shippey

    lance shippey New Member

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    I believe that none of the 36 survivors are still alive.
    Horst Zaubitzer, whom became chief of the fire department,
    in Leverkusen died in Cologne last year. I have been in
    contact with several of the families of the survivors, both
    in Germany, and the U.S.A. Of the 36 survivors, 8 were
    sent to Canadian P.O.W camps in early 1944. I can however
    only account for 7. The 7th. Johann (Johnny)Merkle was
    added to the removal list from England to Canada at the
    last minute. He would settle in the U.S.A and died in Florida
    in 2000. Survivor Gunther Strater was repatriated via the
    Red Cross, and used by the German propaganda machine.
    27 survivors were sent to the U.S.A as P.O.W.s and returned
    to Germany, via Britain at the end of WW2. Johann Kastenholz,
    became involved in trucking, and opened a hotel in the Eifel
    region of Germany.
    I have recently done some research, which was included in a
    recently published book. "Castaways of the Kriegsmarine"
    written by Derek Nudd. Derek is a naval historian, and his
    book contains much information of the interrogation of the
    Scharnhorst survivors at Latimer House, before being sent
    to Canada, and the U.S.A.
    You may find a couple of references to the Scharnhorst
    on the web interesting.
    Lance Shippey Scharnhorst (Marinequest)
    Lance Shippey The winding tale of a German P.O.W.
    from Windsor Ontario.
    Lance Shippey Duke of York, message board Marinequest.

    Happy reading.

    Lance Shippey
    U.K.
     
  9. lance shippey

    lance shippey New Member

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    Information received by bugging cells of Schrnhorst survivors at Latimer house brought some
    interesting results. During a conversation between two survivors on 29th January 1944, One
    of them said "If we win the war, the politicians will all have to change their jobs. HITLER will be
    chancellor, ROOSEVELT minister for foreign affairs, STALIN minister of labour, and CHURCHILL
    minister of war." The other survivor in the cell commented "That would be fine, there would never
    be another war then". "If those four were to work together , the World would become united".
    I recently saw some men from the Scharnhorst who have come back from the Eastern Front, and
    are now in the Tirpitz.
    The details of these facts are from MI 19a C.S.D.I.C (U.K.) S.R. Report dated 29th Jan.44.
    Document S.R.N. 2871. Concerning P.O.W.'s N2138 and N2141 captured 26th Dec 43.

    One of the two men [N2141] had served in TIRPITZ till 25th Dec. 1943 and then transferred to
    Scharnhorst. Konteradmiral Bey had been on-board TIRPITZ on the 25th Dec. probably because
    TIRPITZ had a secure telephone land line to German Naval headquarters which Scharnhorst had
    not. konteradmiral Bey took a few chosen men from the TIRPITZ to join him on Scharnhorst.
    The boat transferring Bey and the men left later than anticipated, and delayed the sailing of the
    Scharnhorst by around an hour.

    In a bugged conversation logged 23rd Jan 44. between the same two men, gave British Naval
    Intelligence a little more information about TIRPITZ. (Document S.R.N.2836) The TIRPITZ
    would be sunk after bombing by R.A.F. Lancaster's on 12 Nov.1944.

    Lance Shippey
    U.K.
     
  10. lance shippey

    lance shippey New Member

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    Dear Watspoon.

    Re. Wilhelm [Willi] Ahlsen

    Born 27.11.1923 Died 22.07.2012 in Duisberg.


    Johann Kastenholz died 1973 {Eifel]
    Helmut Boekhoff died 1997 [Berkshire U.K]
    Horst Zaubitzer died 2016 [Cologne]

    Boekhoff was interviewed by Ludovic Kennedy in 1971. on British T.V.
    possibly now on U-tube. Ludovic Kennedy's father was captain of
    HMS Rawlpindi, which was the first ship to be sunk by Scharnhorst.
    Captain Kennedy was killed in the action.

    [Ludovic wrote book about Scharnhorst, also Miscarriages of Justice.
    He worked as a journalist and reporter for the B.B.C. , He was married
    to Moira Shearer, He died in 2009, shortly after having been knighted.]

    Lance Shippey.
     
  11. lance shippey

    lance shippey New Member

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    Further information regarding Scharnhorst survivors and the fate of some of them
    can be found in German and some English on the website.
    Forum Marine archiv Scharnhorst ueberlebenden.

    Lance Shippey
     
  12. lance shippey

    lance shippey New Member

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    In a few days [26th Dec.] will be the 75th anniversary of the sinking of
    the Battleship Scharnhorst. My rhoughts are with the families of BOTH
    SIDES that have lost someone. After the mysterious sinking of trawler
    GAUL in 1974, l found myself in the winter of 1982 visiting Murmansk,
    Russia. It was ice cold, with snow banked 2 metres on either side of
    the roads. l cannot imagine to understand how terrifying it must have
    been for the ca.1000 seamen left in the freezing waters of the Barents
    sea, having not been rescued.

    There is a photograph of my father Frank Shippey R.M. serving on board
    HMS Duke of York during the battle of the North Cape. He was the DoY's
    Butcher, and also responsible for the store of potatoes, rum, and the cat.
    named Whiskey. as well as being part of the Gunnery division. He served
    under Capt. G.E.Creasy DSO 02Sep 1942 - 06Aug 1943
    Capt Brian B. Schofield 06Aug 1943 - 09Dec 1943
    Capt.Guy H,E.Russell 09Dec 1943. 01Sep 1944

    Royal Marines were volunteers. During battle they provided extra manpower
    to operate guns, They were deployed as sentinels guarding magazines, spirit
    room, and other storerooms, plus the entrances to the officer's quarters, and
    the ships' cells.

    Prior to Capt. G.E.Creasy DSO RN serving on DoY was Cpt, of Destroyer
    HMS Codringham, and evacuated Princess Juliana of the Netherlands with
    her two children from Ijmuiden to Britain. where she would stay a brief time,
    before moving to Ottawa< Canada, where she gave birth to her third child.
    HMS Codrinham should have picked up Queen Wilhelmina, on 11 May 1940.
    along with the Princess, however, the Queen refused to go, and was picked
    up a day later at the Hoek van Holland by HMS Hereward. along with her
    Government in exile and diamond filled crates. H.M. Wilhelmina would remain
    in Britain, living in South Mimms.

    The Photograph of my father can be located by searching Imperial War Museums.
    and on their website search. Photo A17450. [The Royal Navy during the second
    World War] The photographs shows "The Royal Marines preparing meat in the
    Butchers shop, whilst she is in Northern waters. My father is the one in the
    foreground [on the left.] It is a little out of focus.

    Lance Shippey
    U.K.
     
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  13. Ned

    Ned New Member

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  14. Ned

    Ned New Member

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    Lance,
    If you are interested in sharing your father's story about being on the DOY at the time of the demise of the Scharnhorst, please contact russianarcticconvoymuseum.org which is based in Aultbea, Loch Ewe, NW Highlands, the gathering place for many of convoys going to Murmansk and Archangel from 1942-45. You can post his story with a picture on their 'Convoys Remembered' page which contains 100s of such stories. You might find some of his shipmates!
    Ned
     
  15. lance shippey

    lance shippey New Member

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    Dear Ned,

    Thanks so much for the information, I have just taken
    a quick look at the website, and will contact tomorrow.

    Kindest wishes

    Lance.
     
  16. lance shippey

    lance shippey New Member

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    KKpt Karl Heinz VAGT
    None of Scharnhorsts Officers survived the sinking, The luck of Karl Heinz Vagt,
    and tragic end, deserves a special mention.
    KKpt. Vagt served under Captain Hans Langsdorff on board Pocket Battleship
    Admiral Graf Spee. 13th Dec.1939 Graf Spee was involved in "Battle of River Plate"
    17th Dec,1939 Graf Spee was scuttled by Capt. Langsdorff at 19.52 hrs.
    20th Dec.1939 Capt. Hans Langsdorff took his own life in Buenos Aires.
    22nd Dec over 1000 crew members were taken to Buenos Aires,
    Argentina was Neutral Country for most of WW2, however, sympathies, is certain areas
    could be considered as pro German. and an underground organisation operated within
    the Country. The survivors of Graf Spee were sent to various "Internment Camps".
    The officers were sent to Martin Garcia Island, in the River Plate. The rest of the crew
    would be sent to other areas of Argentina, including Mendoza, and Villa Belgrano, a
    small town outside the city of Cordoba. The "Underground" assisted in the escape of an
    estimated of 200 crewmen from January 1940 until 1943. many being taken over the
    Andes to Chile, where they would be able to get back to Germany by Air or Sea.
    Most of the Officers or technicians,with skills much in demand, by the Kriegsmarine
    were re-assigned new vessels on arrival back in Germany, Karl Heinz Vagt, was one
    such case, and was to serve under Captain Fritz Hintze on board Scharnhorst. He would
    meet the same fate as all other Officers on board the Scharnhorst, with his life coming to
    an end, either during the "Battle of the North Cape" or in the icy waters of the Barents Sea,
    as Scharnhorst sank.

    Two further Argentinian internees, from Graf Spee, whom escaped, and returned to
    Germany were Navigation Officer [N.O.} Gerfried BRUTZER born Kiel 02.08.1909
    and Officer of the Watch. Friedrich Wilhelm RASENACK died 2008.
    Both these men would serve on board TIRPITZ. and found themselves in the arctic
    condition of Norway.

    For the internees, not to escape from Argentina, things would get a lot worse. Their
    freedoms enjoyed whilst internees, would change when Argentina decided to give up
    its neutrality, and support the Allies, The men now became POW's and treated
    accordingly. Many of the men in Villa Belgrano had established relationships with
    local girls, some even marrying. As POW's they had to be repatriated to Germany.
    and were sent back in March 1946, on board HMT [Troopship} Highland Monarch.
    On arrival back in Germany, the sailors would find a very different Country, Cities
    devastated, Eastern German States, occupied by the Soviets, stripped factories,
    and the Soviet Army demanding to see restitution.. I visited Villa Belgrano twenty
    years ago, and found that around 130 survivors had returned from Germany as
    settlers to the town. and had founded an association of Graf Spee survivors.

    I think I am justified in my belief that both Captain Hans Langsdorff [Admiral Graf Spee)
    and Captain Fritz Hintze (Scharnhorst} were cut from the same cloth. Both "Menschlich"
    and having a respect, a duty of care for those serving under them. A duty ,and honour
    which would conflict with the ignorance of those whom would later judge them.

    It was said by the Mayor of Ajax . Captain Hans Langsdorff was a "remarkable leader"
    60 years after the" Battle of the River Plate" Hans Langsdorff's daughter, Inge Neddin was
    present at the naming of "Langsdorff Drive" in Ajax, Ontario, Canada. [Oct 2007.]
    The town took its name from HMS Ajax. One of three vessels involved in the flight against
    the Admiral Graft Spee, during the "Battle of the River Plate". !20 people were present at
    the dedication ceremony of "Langsdorff Drive"

    Lance Shippey
    U.K.
     
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