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Re: UC 50 & Escape from Boyardville POW camp
Posted by: chrisheal ()
Date: November 17, 2016 10:51AM

Hello Michael

I have now thoroughly inspected and reconstructed the French files on Georg Gerth's attempted escape from Boyardville prison camp by u-boat in January 1918. I have also run checks on all possible u-boats that might have been involved through KTB and flotilla records in Freiburg. There is no mention of the escape mission.

I can say that there was a failed escape attempt between 12-18 January 1918, probably after 14 January. Lt Suadicani at the Flanders Flotilla wrote to Gerth that the u-boat would wait for five consecutive nights. A set of signals were agreed to cover options. A 'berthon' would be sent from the u-boat to the shore. Gerth was recaptured by Captain Prulieres of the French Army secret police after Gerth signalled with a torch from the rocks on the shoreline, but the exact night of re-capture is not given. Gerth was immediately sent to a POW camp at Carcassonne. Gerth's co-escapee was an officer Schwerd(t)feger. This unusual name has been remembered from Flanders Flotilla records at Freiburg and is being rechecked.

The French intercepted some (not all) of the correspondence, decoded it, and allowed it to be delivered. The French list in detail their 'reception committee' for the u-boat which included a submarine and numbers of torpedo boats and patrol boats.

The only three U-boats, I think, that could have been in the Bay of Biscay at the right time and have not been checked are U 84, U 93 and UC 56. All others have been eliminated for various reasons. The first two were lost around the right time, the last has no KTB at Freiburg (interned Santander May 1918). Would you please, Michael, check for me to see whether you have access to UC 56's KTB and where it was mid-January?

There was a second visit to Boyardville some time in January by a u-boat commanded by 'Rudi', who was known to Gerth. This is confirmed by Suadicani. I believe the only possible boat was UC-50, commanded by Rudolph Seuffer, which did not return from its mission. 'Rudi' was to scout for alternative landing sites for use if the Gerth escape attempt was aborted and, if it was successful, for later attempts by others. Another escape attempt was planned for June (despite the Gerth failure) with named officers, but this also failed.

The French knew that 'Rudi' was coming to the area, but not the dates or exact positions.

There is no evidence that any boat made it to Boyardville or that their demise happened on the way there, or on the way back, or as part of another separate activity. The French do say that no boat was attacked as a part of their traps.

I believe that there were more documents in the files at one time.

Best wishes
Chris

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Subject Written By Posted
UC 50 & Escape from Boyardville POW camp chrisheal 11/08/2016 06:16PM
Re: UC 50 & Escape from Boyardville POW camp Michael Lowrey 11/08/2016 07:36PM
Re: UC 50 & Escape from Boyardville POW camp chrisheal 11/17/2016 10:51AM
Re: UC 50 & Escape from Boyardville POW camp Michael Lowrey 11/17/2016 02:45PM
Re: UC 50 & Escape from Boyardville POW camp chrisheal 11/17/2016 04:19PM
Re: UC 50 & Escape from Boyardville POW camp chrisheal 12/10/2016 09:31AM
Re: UC 50 & Escape from Boyardville POW camp Michael Lowrey 01/02/2017 08:32PM
Re: UC 50 & Escape from Boyardville POW camp chrisheal 01/07/2017 11:31AM
Re: UC 50 & Escape from Boyardville POW camp chrisheal 01/31/2018 07:50PM
Re: UC 50 & Escape from Boyardville POW camp Michael Lowrey 11/08/2016 08:36PM
Re: UC 50 & Escape from Boyardville POW camp chrisheal 11/09/2016 10:36AM


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