Date: 20/07/1944
Squadron Code: 'N'
Serial Number: Liberator GR.Mk.V - FL976
U-Boat details : U-965
:::: Flight - Mission Details ::::....

Base: Tain
Time UP: 0346 hrs - Time DOWN: 2105 hrs - DURATION: 17hrs 19mins
Op: A/U Patrol

ORB states the following: "N" was patrolling in Norwegian waters on Co.223'T at 500 feet when a radar contact Red 20'/9 miles was obtained. This was followed by a visual sighting of a fully surfaced U-boat bearing Red 30'/8 miles oin the est.Co 130'/8 kts. This sighting was at 1308, the U-boat's posn. being 71'44'N. 05'30'E. The Captain manoevured into position for an attack from the U-boat's starboard beam by crossing its track 2 miles astern. The U-baot was by this time taking avoiding action to port, thereby turning its stern and its armament towards the aircraft. The flak from the U-boat was intense but inaccurate during the run-in, exploding below and to port of the aircraft.

As the A/C tracked over the stern of the U-boat from a bearing of 15' astern 6 DC's were selected, spacing 55 feet but no DC's were released as the lock-slect lever was not fully into "select" position. This took place at 1312 and almost immediately the U-boat was seen to be in the act of submerging while still turning to port.

After tracking over the Captain truned to starboard and then approached for his 2nd attack in a wide sweep to port. This time a point 400 feet ahead of the swirl apex was chosen as aiming point and although 6 DC's were selected. 7 were released from 50 feet, spacing 55 feet at 1314, 40 seconds (by stop watch) after submergence. These were seen to explode and straddle at an angle of 90' the track of U-boat when last seen. The Mark III low level Bombsight was used.

After the attack a small patch of oil was seen in the posn of the explosions and the rear gunner claims that during the track over after the attack, he saw a circular black object in this position which gave him the impression that the U-boat was re-surfacing. Nothing further was seen at this stage and the A/C resumed patrol at 1335, leaving a marker.

When "N" returned to the scene of the attack at 1437, two oil streaks 150 and 400 yards were sighted together with an oval life raft and two pieces of wood about four feet long. There was nothing else seen and at 1450 the A/C set course for base, PLE having been reached.

Crew on this day: F.O D.A. Willows (capt) - F/O G. Rubenok (sec pilot) - F/O F.L Swierzynski (nav) - F/S H.J. Watts - W/O C.D. Street - Sgt G. Callegari - Sgt S.W.T Ricketts - F/O C.P. Emerson - W/O J. Dickinson.


:::: More U-boat Details ::::....

Update June 2014:

U-Boat involved was previously unidentified, however states the following in regards to this attack.

"13.05 hrs, Norwegian Sea: a British Liberator bomber (RAF Sqdn 59/N, pilot FO D.A. Willows) on A/S patrol attacked after locating U-965 on radar. The Liberator passed two miles astern to take up a favourable attack position on the starboard beam. As it approached, the 37mm AA gun jammed on firing the first round and both men manning the 20mm twin gun on the port side were hit by machine gun fire [Matrosenhauptgefreiter Willibald Niederle died and Bootsmaat Lütjen was wounded]. Luckily for the U-boat, the depth charges failed to release when the Liberator passed over her stern because the lock-select lever was not fully engaged. U-965 then escaped by diving, and seven depth charges were dropped about 40 seconds afterwards. Two small streaks of oil, an oval life raft and two pieces of wood were sighted by the crew of the Liberator when it returned to the scene approx. 90 minutes later, but the U-boat was undamaged, and remained submerged until the aircraft departed. Mhg Niederle was buried at sea at 22.05 hrs. (Sources: ADM 199/1786)"


:::: Source - Endurance - Alwyn Jay ::::....

During WWII, the RAF used three-letter codes to identify their aircraft from a distance. Two large letters were painted before the roundel, which signified the squadron to which the aircraft belonged, and another letter was painted after the roundel which indicated the individual aircraft. Aditionally, there was the individual serial number for each aircraft, which was painted in a much smaller size, usually somewhere at the rear of the aircraft: (more)

Codes used by RAF 59 Squadron:

PJ Sep 1938 - Sep 1939
TR Sep 1939 - Oct 1942
1 Aug 1943 - Jul 1944
WE Jul 1944 - Oct 1945
BY Oct 1945 - Jun 1946, Dec 1947 - Oct 1950