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I scuttled my ship to avoid capture

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I scuttled my ship to avoid capture

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I scuttled my ship to avoid capture.
When stopped on the high seas by British warships or planes, many German merchant ships were scuttled to avoid capture. The graphic story of one such incident among many that have astonished the world is reproduced by arrangement with Reuters agency.

On 2 December 1939. The 9,500 ton German liner Watussi was scuttled by her captain. After being intercepted by planes of the South African sea defence Force. Captain Stamer who is now a prisoner in South Africa, said that his ship was not bound for Germany when she was sighted.

The reason he fired the ship was that It is the unwritten law of the sea as a captain should never allow his command to fall into enemy hands. When a South African military aeroplane demanded the name of the ship he realised that there was no chance of escape and played the time, meanwhile, provisioning, lifeboats with two weeks of supplies and mustering the passengers on deck. The passengers quarters were then set on fire, the sea cocks the Nazi flag run up and the crew and passengers swung out in their lifeboats. I knew from experience of the French liner Paris that the best place to set fire to the liner was in the wood panelled passenger cabins and the corridors, said captain Stamer. When the aeroplane ordered me to recall the boats or take the consequences it was too late to turn back as the ship was blazing below decks. In any case, I would not have turned back as I was determined that my ship should not be captured. We were only in the lifeboats an hour before we were all picked up by a British warship. We could not have been better treated by the Royal Navy. The captain, gave me a much-needed drink, and the passengers were given coffee and food. My crew also received every attention. The lifeboats made good speed in the stiff wind. We must have looked like a Saturday afternoon regatta concluded captain Stamer with a laugh.

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Sources

The Second Great War.
Edited by Sir John Hamilton

The War Illustrated.
Edited by Sir John Hamilton

2194 Days Of War.
ISBN-10: 086136614X

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