Kurt Diggins

Kapitänleutnant (Crew 34)

2 ships sunk, total tonnage 7,584 GRT

Born  17 Oct 1912 Gut Mohrberg, Eckernförde
Died  1 Mar 2007(94)Bonn, Germany


8 Apr 1934 Offiziersanwärter
1 Jul 1935 Fähnrich zur See
1 Jan 1937 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Apr 1937 Leutnant zur See
1 Apr 1939 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Jan 1942 Kapitänleutnant


Dec 1939 Iron Cross 2nd Class
1940 Minesweeper War Badge
15 Jul 1941 Fleet War Badge
16 Oct 1942 U-boat War Badge 1939
1943 Iron Cross 1st Class
16 Aug 1943 Italienische Tapferkeitsmedaille in Bronze "Medaglia di Bronzo al Valore Militare"

U-boat Commands

U-458 12 Dec 1941 22 Aug 1943   7 patrols (170 days) 

After joining the Kriegsmarine Kurt Diggins served on the square-rigger school ship Gorch Fock and the light cruiser Karlsruhe.

He was Captain Langsdorff's Flag Lieutenant on the Admiral Graf Spee from April 1939 (Grove, 2001). After the Graf Spee was scuttled on 17 December, Diggins escaped from Montevideo to Buenos Aires by stowing away in a river ferry, and from there made his way back to Germany.

Oblt. Diggins commanded the 6th and 5th Minesweeping Flotillas for two years before transferring to the U-bootwaffe (U-boat arm) in April 1940. He commissioned U-458 on 12 Dec. 1941, and commanded her until her sinking by Greek and British destroyers in the Mediterranean off Pantelleria on 22 Aug 1943.

Kptlt. Diggins was a POW at Camp 18 at Haltwhistle, UK, not being released until late 1947.

Kurt Diggins joined the Bundesmarine (Federal German Navy) in 1957, and eventually retired with the rank of Kapitän zur See.

From Naval Officers Under Hitler:

"Internees from the pocket battleship Graf Spee - Kurt Diggins, Rolf Schauenburg, Detlef Spiering and Karl-Heinrich Vagt - upon crossing the River Plate from Uruguay to Argentina, faced comparatively minor difficulties in making their way home from that neutral and traditionally anglophobic South American country. The greatest challenge seems to have been to get from Uruguay to Argentina. It took Diggins no fewer than 18 attempts before he succeeded in reaching Buenos Aires from Montevideo as a stowaway on a river steamer. He then left for home disguised as a Romanian."


Grove, E. (2001) Price of Disobedience.
Rust, E. (1991) Naval Officers Under Hitler.

Patrol info for Kurt Diggins

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-458 21 Jun 1942  Kiel  27 Aug 1942  St. Nazaire  Patrol 1,68 days
2. U-458 1 Oct 1942  St. Nazaire  15 Oct 1942  La Spezia  Patrol 2,15 days
3. U-458 26 Oct 1942  La Spezia  15 Nov 1942  La Spezia  Patrol 3,21 days
4. U-458 6 Feb 1943  La Spezia  11 Mar 1943  Toulon  Patrol 4,34 days
5. U-458 19 May 1943  Toulon  19 May 1943  Toulon   1 days
6. U-458 25 May 1943  Toulon  31 May 1943  Toulon  Patrol 5,7 days
7. U-458 21 Jun 1943  Toulon  6 Jul 1943  Toulon  Patrol 6,16 days
8. U-458 14 Aug 1943  Toulon  22 Aug 1943  Sunk  Patrol 7,9 days
7 patrols, 170 days at sea

Ships hit by Kurt Diggins

Date U-boat Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
30 Jun 1942U-458 Mosfruit2,714nw
5 Aug 1942U-458 Arletta4,870brON-115

2 ships sunk (7,584 tons).

We have a picture of this vessel.

About ranks and decorations
Special thanks to Fernando Almeida for data on ranks and decorations.

Media links

German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim

Naval Officers Under Hitler

Rust, Eric C.

Listing of all U-boat commanders

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