What was it like to "go down the ladder" in a U-Boat? This image depicts the conning-tower ladder in U-47 (a U-Boat Type VIIB). David Balme descended the ladder of U-110 (a U-Boat Type IXB). Image online, courtesy U-Boat.net.
I still wake up at night
fifty-six years later
to find myself
going down that ladder.
The North Atlantic seas south of Iceland were relatively calm on May 9, 1941 as a British convoy made its way from England to Nova Scotia. Escort ships, like the corvette HMS Aubretia, were desperately needed to protect supply ships from the ever-present threat of German U-boats.
On board the Bulldog, senior ship of the 3rd Escort Group, Sub-Lieutenant David Balme had no clue his impending heroism would give British intelligence what they needed to decipher the secret code of the Third Reich - Hitler's "Enigma" encryption machine.
Commanding the Bulldog, A.J. (Joe) Baker-Creswell had no idea his instinctual decisions over the next several hours would turn the tide of the war against Germany.
In charge of a lurking nearby U-Boat, Fritz-Julius Lemp (commanding officer of U-110) could not have known he had only a few hours to live.
Original Release Date: April, 2000
Updated Quarterly, or as Needed
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