“weather permitting..”

To be honest I was sceptical about the viability of the proposal to raise U-778, not least because of the cost involved, but according to the report in the Belfast Telegraph Derry City Council do seem to be making some progress. It’s still a long way from being lifted off the sea-bed but the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, UTV, RTE and Channel 4 “have contacted the council to express their interest in filming the exploration and raising of the U-778 that sank after World War II.” And, again according to the report, the Council has “agreed to fund the initial dive on September 17, weather permitting.” Perhaps it just might happen after all..

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  • Turgon

    It is very interesting Pete but like you I wonder will it happen.

    I have seen the submarine at Birkenhead when driving past. It is quite small compared to many ships so I guess it is feasible but the weather would surely be a problem.

    Can you get into the Birkenhead one? I suspect it would be a better attraction if you could climb about in it.

  • Pete Baker

    All those U-boats were quite small, Turgon.

    The missing piece in the Derry City Council plan is the funding.. and I’m not sure they’ve identified any potential source for that funding. Bar the rate-payers that is…

  • Turgon

    Pete,

    Do you know if you can get into the Birkenhead one? The small child in me (an in my small children) would find it much more fun if you could crawl about in them.

  • Pete Baker

    I really don’t know for certain, Turgon, but I’d doubt it.

    But given the details of the current status of the U-534 here – more here – it’s not actually on open exhibition at the minute.

  • Turgon

    Pete,

    Yes that seems a pretty comprehensive no doesn’t it. I remember the first time I saw it I was driving to the ferry; glanced out the window and nearly crashed gawping at this submarine sitting randomly near the road. Seems a bit of a shame to chop it up but I suppose at least you could see into it.

  • Pete Baker

    Well there is a petition at that link..

  • The Chicago Museum of Science has a recovered U-Boat parked outside its building…visitors are allowed access, but the thing is so small inside numbers are restricted per visit. Derry could really make a go of this, the Battle of the Atlantic angle, key port, Veteran’s memorial, Museum of WWII etc, but no doubt there will be those who seek to politicise it and those who can’t be arsed to actually do anything and will talk instead of acting on it

  • Katinka

    I have spent the day (Sat) in Derry, or Londonderry, because quite simply if there had been no London companies involved there would be no ‘Derry’ of any sort. However, the city is strong on its past, especially in the excellent Tower Museum, but it is weak in its commemoration of its role in WW2. There is no question that this should be a ‘museum’ in its own right. The Battle of the Atlantic was, like the Battle of the Boyne, a battle of significance far beyond the shores of Ireland. Londonderry played a part in this battle which was crucial and this should be remembereed and commerated. Raising a U-boat would be an excellent start. I have seen the U-boat on Birkenhead as I got off the ferry, and it frightened the life out of me, it is singularly dramatic.
    HMS Alliance is at the submarine museum in Gosport. She has had holes cut in the hull, but this allows a throughput of people to experience the claustraphobia of a sub. After all it’s not going to sea again!
    I really hope that this dream can be fulfilled and Londonderry can create a memorial to the Irishmen, the Brits, the Yanks, and the Canucks who won this particular battle.

  • Turgon

    If we have a submarine it would also be nice to have other stuff such as a Sunderland flying boat, after all they were built at Shorts. I believe there are none left on this side of the Atlantic but presumably a non flying replica could be built for display. As Katinka says this was a very important event in history which should be marked and also can be a tourist and educational attraction as well.

  • Harry Flashman

    As I said on the previous post I am concerned that Derry City Council keeps looking through the wrong end of the telescope with regard to Derry’s role in the Battle of the Atlantic (I mentioned the awfully inappropriate ties commissioned by the Council for the 50th anniversary).

    Obviously a U-Boat would be quite an impressive feature in the wider comemoration of the Battle, but will the Council make it clear that they were the bad guys? You know, the enemy? And that the British Armed Forces along with their American and Canadian allies were the heroes?

    Surely to heaven a ship broker somewhere could find an old corvette or frigate from around that time mouldering away in a distant inlet somewhere in the world. They can’t all have been scrapped can they? If so wouldn’t it be much cheaper, easier and more appropriate to bring it in as a centerpiece of the display? Flying a nice big White Ensign at the stern would be nice too.

    After all it’s the men who defeated and sunk the wretched U-Boats we should be celebrating, not the damn things themselves.

  • barcas

    Turgon, if it is raised and exhibited, how about painting it yellow to increase its appeal?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Johnny: “The Chicago Museum of Science has a recovered U-Boat parked outside its building…visitors are allowed access, but the thing is so small inside numbers are restricted per visit. Derry could really make a go of this, the Battle of the Atlantic angle, key port, Veteran’s memorial, Museum of WWII etc, but no doubt there will be those who seek to politicise it and those who can’t be arsed to actually do anything and will talk instead of acting on it ”

    The Chicago Museum of Science has since upgraded, Johnny — the submarine has been brought inside, restored, save for two large cuts in the port hull, iirc, one fore and one aft, to allow tourists through the boat. You enter just aft of the foreward topedo room and exit just before the engine room. The vessel has had some non-interactive bells and whistles added, a dramatization of the German side of the vessels last action. It is part of a very large exhibit discussing the war, the Enigma machine and its capture with the submarine. The exhibit is free, the tour of the vessel itself a modest extra fee, no pictures from inside the boat, however.

  • Mayoman

    Katinka: “Londonderry, because quite simply if there had been no London companies involved there would be no ‘Derry’ of any sort.”

    Err…..there was a Derry before there was ever a LondonDerry. The walled city (the bit that most nationalists are happy to be called LondonDerry) may not have been there, but there would still have been a Derry without the ‘Londoners’ appearing, and you have no way of knowing whether that Derry would have been better or worse than the one that exists now.

    http://www.geographia.com/northern-ireland/ukider01.htm