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U-boat men, not all heartless murderers

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U-boat men, not all heartless murderers.
Seven survivors of the trawler Creswell landed at Fleetwood on 14 November 1939 and told how they were picked up by U-41. This story is reprinted from the Glasgow Bulletin.

Where there Creswell was shelled by a German U-boat of the North of Scotland, the crew of 13 escaped from the sinking trawler, 10 on a raft, 2 clinging to the smashed lifeboat, and one with a lifebelt. The two on the lifeboat and the man with the lifebelt were drowned, and despite the efforts of their comrades to keep them above water, three of the men on the raft became exhausted by the buffeting of the waves and let go, their hold. On arriving at Fleetwood. The survivors told the following dramatic story of their adventures.

The 17-year-old deck boy, Frederick Lee youngest member of the crew, said there was no warning before the submarine began shelling the trawler. We did not know a submarine was in near until shells began whizzing all around us. We had not time to launch the boat, but in any case, it would have made no difference, because it was smashed by gunfire. The submarine sent at least 20 shots at the trawler. Another member of the crew stated that it was just getting daylight. When they heard the gunfire. There was only a watch on, and it was every man for himself. William Faussett, the mate, said he saw Boatswain Andrews jump overboard with a lifebelt. Ten of us threw the raft into the water and clung to it. We were all crushed together, underwater was icy cold, and the rain pelted down on us unmercifully. After the firing the submarine disappeared and we thought she had left us a good. The raft was tossed about and it needed a great effort to hold on. At times, it submerged, and this made our plight worse. Faussett then went on to tell how Gateley was the first to go under. The men did their best in turns to help me to keep his head above the surface. Our legs were numb with cold and arms ached, and it was from sheer exhaustion that we had to let go. He disappeared below. He was all in. The next, he said, was Lazenby. He had withstood a terrible buffeting. After that they never saw Laerte again. In the distance they could see Killey and Kirby, clinging to an upturned boat. I never saw them go down, but at the end of an hour we could not find them, he added. They had been in the water for nearly 2 1/2 hours when the U-boat reappeared. She hailed the men clinging to the raft, and then they will hauled aboard. After that, the U-boat crew did everything to make us comfortable. They gave us clothing, hot food, brandy, and other drinks, said the mate. They then learned that the submarine had left them to find a neutral ship, which could take them aboard. Faussett said they were in the U-boat for more than six hours cruising about until they sighted the Fleetwood trawler Phyllisa. While on the submarine, they saw the Creswell sink after being shelled again by the submarine They were put aboard the Phyllisa and taken home. The U-boat commanders (Gustav-Adolf Mugler) parting words to Mr George Bull, the skipper of the Creswell were tell Mr Churchill, that the German U-boat men are not a heartless murderers. You are led to believe.

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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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