U-boat signal books to go on display in centre

A scene captured during the surrender.
A scene captured during the surrender.

Two German signal books that were used on U-Boats during the Battle of the Atlantic will be going on display at the Londonderry Visitor Information Centre in Foyle Street from Wednesday, April 22, until Saturday, May 16.

The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest running campaign of World War Two (WW2) and ended when the German U-Boat fleet in the Atlantic surrendered at Lisahally Docks on May 14, 1945.

About a dozen boats came alongside for that official surrender, taken by Admiral Sir Max Horton in the presence of US, Canadian and Republic of Ireland commanders.

Admiral Horton was accompanied on the quayside by Sir Basil Brooke, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland at the time.

Later a further 60 U-Boats surrendered in Londonderry, its strategic position and its availability to the allied navies underlining its importance as an escort base in the Atlantic.

The outcome of the battle was a strategic victory for the Allies - the German blockade failed - but at great cost: 3,500 merchant ships and 175 warships were sunk for the loss of 783 U-boats.

Catherine Crawley, visitor services officer, says: “Visit Derry is delighted to have such important artefacts available for visitors to see.

“These signal books are a real rare find and a must-see attraction.

“One of our kind Visit Derry members Tony Henderson, from ‘Derry Walls’ walking tours, has lent them out from the family collection to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the surrender of the German U-boats in Lough Foyle in 1945.”

The Battle of the Atlantic - during which HMS Ferret played such an important role - up to and including the surrender of the Kriegsmarine U-Boat fleet at Lisahally, will be amongst the events commemorated at a new Maritime Museum, which is planned for the former Ebrington Barracks site.