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We spent five days in the Deutschland

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We spent five days in the Deutschland

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We spent five days in the Deutschland
After three weeks as prisoners on the pocket battleship Deutschland (later renamed Lützow), and on the famous City of Flint, the crew of the British steamer Stonegate arrived home on a Norwegian ship on 30 October 1939. Here is their story as told to News Chronicle.

We were homeward bound from south America when, about 1115 hrs on 5 October 1939. The pocket battleship Deutschland appeared and fired a shot across bows. We were told to take to our boats. There were enormous seas running. The Deutschland, then opened fire, and within a few minutes Stonegate was in flames and some sank. We were taken aboard the Deutschland, and placed in cabins on a lower deck, where constant guard was kept over us. We were treated very fairly and got plenty of food, but were only allowed on deck for a half-hour at dusk for exercise. On the fifth day, just before we were due to go for exercise, we saw through the porthole a ship which proved to be City of Flint.
The American captain was asked whether he would prefer to have his vessel sunk or taken to Germany. He replied that he would rather have the vessel taken to Germany. A boarding party of 18 German soldiers was placed on the City of Flint, armed with hand grenades and revolvers.
The 37 of us were placed under fo'c'sle, where we were herded for days, having to sleep in the cold on wet boards. Although the American crew were prisoners they were eventually given full liberty, and did their best to provide us with the food and clothing. We were told, however, by the German officers that if we moved over the step of lazaret handgrenades would be thrown amongst us.
Before we arrived at Tromsø the American at the wheel, told the Norwegian pilot that the ship was the City of Flint, and that there was an English crew of prisoners on board. The pilot apparently informed the authorities, and a Norwegian destroyer came off and an armed guard boarded the vessel and disarmed the Deutschland's price crew.
The Norwegians maintained control of the City of Flint, after we were put ashore. Then the American ship, having taken water and provisions aboard, was escorted outside the Norwegian territorial limit, and that was the last we knew of her.

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City of Flint picture 1

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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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