Nene K270 - Surrender of U-Boats

Surrender of U-boats - by Eric Shaw and Sandy Donaldson (Map, Position #2)

The escort group E.G. 9, made up of HMC Ships NENE, LOCH ALVIE, MONNOW, ST PIERRE AND MATANE, was steaming out of the mouth of the River Foyle leaving Londonderry, with orders to proceed to join the escort force, for Russian Convoy J.W. 67 outward and R.A. 67 homeward bound. Rumours of peace being imminent abounded as we sailed, as allied forces were at the gates of Berlin and we were expecting word momentarily that the war was at an end. [photocopy of actual message received by Nene]

[Don Delong was not pleased with this turn of events because the NENE lost her birth at Londonderry, the best place to be for the ensuing Victory Party. The NENE was ordered out of Londonderry at 8 a.m. on May 8, only to be recalled to Lisahally at 11 a.m., which was 10 miles away from the fun. He wondered if a Royal ship took up the Nene's birth as soon as it became open.]

Other ships in E.G. 9 (Escort Group 9 - end of war)
May 1945, Loch Alvie and surrendered U-Boat - E.G. 9 (Escort Group 9 - end of war) - photo from the National Archives of Canada PA191027

Here is the Canadian Press release printed in the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star on May 23, 1945.

The 8:00 AM, BBC news reported that Admiral Doenitz had ordered all U-Boats to remain on the surface and to surrender. Germany surrendered and Escort Group 9 detached from the convoy on 16th of May with orders to intercept the entire U-Boat force based in Narvik Fjord. Those in Narvik Fjord numbered fifteen, and they were accompanied by four service and supply vessels for the fifteen U-Boats, and a beautiful yacht with the German flag officer aboard. The King of Norway's yacht had been commandeered and was sailing under the German flag.

U-Boat Surfacing

The enemy group was preparing to move to Trondheim when, on 17th May, two watch keepers and the Captain sighted the tips of masts and what appeared to be a ships bridge on the horizon off the port bow of the Nene. All EG9 ships went to action stations and proceeded at maximum speed to close the group. When we reached them we took up strategic positions and between us boarded several U-Boats as a precautionary measure, checking them out.

U-Boats Surrendering
List of German Submarines
and Supply Vessels
that Surrendered to E.G.9 Task Force
on Thursday, May 17, 1945
U-Boats in two groups below -
* means escorted by HMCS Nene

Takt Nr.

Morse Name

Boots Nr. (U-Boat Number)

(Captain's Name)











295 (85?)




868 (968?)









Folke* or Falke



7765 (1165?)


Takt Nr.

Morse Name

Boots Nr. (U-Boat Number)

(Captain's Name)

































Supply Vessels

Takt Nr.

Morse Name

Name des Schiffes
















Stella Polaris






The five surface craft were instructed to proceed to a Trondheim port. The remainder of the U-boats were to be escorted to Loch Eriboll on the north coast of Scotland. We had on board the NENE three crew members who were bilingual in English and German, whose parents had immigrated to Canada after the first World War and they were invaluable during the operation. The NENE monitored the U-boat W/T signals all the way back using our German speaking crew members, one of whom was a W/T operator.

Sandy Donaldson was one of a detail of six that was instructed to go on board a German U-boat as a guard to take the submarine to the north of Scotland. They never slept for two days. There was little communication between our seamen and the German submariners because of language difficulties. Conditions were crowded in the submarine, with little space provided for the mess table and virtually no access on either side of the table. Sandy relates that one of our seaman took his gun belt off and told the German sailor to pass it to our other seaman located at the head of the table. Halfway up the table one of the German sailors removed the gun from its holster, looked at it and put it back in the belt and then passed it up to our seaman. It was a tense moment and an incident that is still vivid in his memory.

The following signal from the Senior U-Boat officer to the group of submarines was intercepted and translated by Sonntag then transmitted by Sam Forsythe by signal light. It read as follows,

"Comrades, nearing England, we have to carry out a mission and obey the laws of their people. We have to obey the orders of our Fuhrer and take a bite of the sour apple. The weapons of our U-boats are out of commission. We only have to carry out this last mission of turning over our U-boats". (photocopy of message)

On arrival at Loch Eriboll on May 18th our EG9 group anchored and each ship was instructed to have a U-boat moored on either side. U992 came alongside on our port side and the whole U-boat crew were most co-operative and well behaved and efficient. The U-boat Captain (Hans Falke) spoke perfect English having been partly educated in Britain, primarily for a business career. He was twenty-five years old! His crew frequently asked for any one of our three German speaking lads,amongst them Bruno Sonntag, to come on deck and answer questions on Canada, including how so many German speaking people got there.

U-295, carrying the German Fleet Commander, coming alongside punched a one foot hole in NENE's starboard side, three feet above the waterline at Seaman's Mess Deck. Two seaman were slightly injured.

This U-boat Captain's behaviour was sloppy and erratic. He was told to come aboard the NENE with a list of his boat's requirements, if any, to enable them to get to Loch Alsh for interment. When he came on board he gave a Nazi salute. He was told to get right back on board his U-boat and come on board properly or disciplinary action would be taken against him.

We sailed from Loch Eriboll on May 19th with the U-boats and arrived at Loch Alsh on May 20th where we turned them over for interment. We then proceeded to Londonderry arriving late on the 20th. There were then many U-boats moored at Lisahally and some at Londonderry. U-295, carrying the German Fleet Commander punched a one foot hole in NENE's starboard side on coming alongside, three feet above the waterline at the Seaman's Mess Deck. Two seamen were slightly injured. Art Desjardine, the shipwright, rigged a plug inside the mess area, with lumber and canvas to prevent taking in water during open water operations. The German captain claimed that the whole incident was an unfortunate accident.

It was quite a sight to see these U-boats waiting to surrender just outside the harbour as the dawn broke over the horizon.

U-boat 992 ready to throw a line to the Nene during escort to Loc Eriboll

Surrendered U-Boat riding along side the Nene - not allowed to submerge
to avoid rough seas, resulting in sea sickness aboard the sub

The NENE made her last trip down the Foyle River, past U-boats tied up at Lisahally to bid farewell to Londonderry. On May 27th, 1945 NENE headed for Sheerness on the Thames and after some heavy scrubbing and painting from the bilges up, she was returned to the Royal Navy and accepted into reserve category "B" at Sheerness on June 11, 1945.

Many years later, Don Delong relates that, after the NENE was made ship-shape for turn over to the Royal Navy, many of the Canadian crew threw paint on the walls, and trashed the mess and other parts of the ship as pay back for the disgusting condition in which the ship had been delivered to the Canadians in Halifax. He describe his first view of the NENE as "a disgusting pig-sty". In fact, the men were not permitted to bunk aboard ship for two weeks, spending their daytime hours in Halifax cleaning the ship. Many objects of value today - stainless steel cutlery, china - anything not nailed down - lay at the bottom of the Shearness harbour. All was not well between allies during the war. The colonials (Canadians) felt slighted. This is further substantiated by Don's arrival at an earlier posting on HMCS Ettrick. It too was soiled with food items thrown about by the Royals, including catsup and butter.

Some seven years later, Captain Shaw received a letter from the skipper of U-992. He said that when he arrived home there was a great deal of chaos in Germany. He told his wife how friendly the Canadians seemed at the surrender. As they both spoke good English, they decided to emigrate to Canada, if and when possible. They were eventually successful and settled into farming north of Winnipeg. They were doing well and had two sons born in Canada.

Most of the crew returned via troop train to HMCS NIOBE in Greenock to await the passage home. Part of the final message read:

"Special train leaves Sheerness at 1335 arrives Nottingham 1930 departs 1950 arrives Greenock 0615/3.

One bagged meal and one meal order will be issued to each rating on the train at Sheerness. Hot tea and meal will be supplied in Nottingham. Mugs are to be carried."

We packed our mugs as ordered for the trip to the naval base HMCS Niobe, at Greenock, Scotland. Each of us was in very good spirits (Pusser), compliments of our Supply Assistants, Ceo Gaudet and Gene Begin. Serge Breard,our Sick Bay Attendant, supplied us with medical supplies in case of incidents during the trip. As our "troop train" proceeded from the south of England to Scotland there were many children at the station stops, all voicing admiration for Canadians. "Any gum, chum?" "Any spam, Sam?" We had ample supplies, so we dispensed gum, chocolate bars, to them as thousands of Canadian Army and Air Force had done during the six years of war.

For many of us this adventure was the first time we had ventured more than a few miles from home. We had not seen our country, let alone the vast ocean we found ourselves on. It led one to think about the universe, the order of things and the magnificence of the ocean. It gave us time for reflection and thought,why we were there.

Reduced to category "B2" reserve in December 1946 the NENE was towed to Harwich in May 1947 and transferred to Barrow-in-Furness in May 1953. Approval to scrap was given in June 1955 and on 18th July 1955 she left Barrow under tow of the breakers, T W. Ward Ltd., to be broken up in Briton Ferry Wales in August 1955.

(Source: Nene Lives; ed. Kenneth Riley, 1993, ppg. 33 - 37)

Webmaster: Dan Delong - Updated: December 12, 2002