Date: 17/10/1943
Squadron Code: 'D'
Serial Number: Liberator Mk.V BZ712
U-Boat details : U-540 type IXC/40- attacked/sunk
:::: Flight - Mission Details ::::....

Base: Reykjavik
Up: 0549hrs - Down: 2222hrs
Op: A/S Patrol

16 Oct: This U-boat was sighted and attacked by P/O W.J Thomas & crew - who had on the same day, attacked and sunk U-844.

Sunk 17 Oct: 1943 east of Cape Farewell, Greenland, in position 58.38N, 31.56W, by depth charges from 2 British Liberator aircraft (Sqdn. D/59 & H/120). 55 dead (all hands lost). Liberator D was flown by F/L E Knowles DFM of 59 Squadron.

Image supplied by Roger Knowles


Crew photo and newspaper clipping sent in by Sally Benwell - daughter of W/O Pike,nav/b with W.J. Thomas & crew who attacked U-540 on the 16th Oct 1943.



Extract from 120 Squadron ORB:

17 October 1943

Liberator I AM929 H/120 - W/O. B W. Turnbull and crew.

Op: Anti-submarine Search.

The Liberator was airborne from Reykjavik at 0558 hrs and at 0939 hrs sighted convoy ON206 and began a search. At 1658 hrs the search was completed and the aircraft set a course long the convoys track, at 1727 hrs H/120 was over a large oil patch and at 1822 hrs a U-boat was sighted in position 58,22N-32,50W. As the aircraft dived to attack. Another Liberator, D/59 was sighted about to attack the U-boat. H/120 attacked the U-boat with 4x20mm cannon delaying a depth-charge attack. At 1824 hrs H/120 attacked the U-boat with 4x250lb depth-charges which straddled the U-boat which was seen to lose speed and was down by the stern. At 1826 hrs H/120 carried out a second attack with cannon and 4x250lb depth-charges. A further straddle was obtained and the U-boat was seen to break in half, the bow and the stern rising out of the water,. The U-boat then sank. 30 survivors were seen and photographed. At 1838 hrs H/120 set course for base and at 2223 hrs landed at Reykjavik.

Extract from the No.120 Squadron Operations Record Book.


During this action U 540 a type IXC/40 submarine commanded by Kapitanleutnant Lorenz Kasch was sunk.

The destruction of U 540 was officially shared with No.120 Squadron and No.59 Squadron.

- Image supplied by Roger Knowles -

- Extract from "U-Boat Command And The Battle Of The Atlantic - Jak P Mallman Showell -

S/59 was flown by F/O WJ Thomas & crew.

Extract from F/L Knowles' logbook:

Image supplied by Roger Knowles


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



Ordered 5 Jun, 1941
Laid down 12 May, 1942 Deutsche Werft AG, Hamburg (werk 361)
Launched 18 Dec, 1942
Commissioned 10 Mar, 1943 Kptlt. Lorenz Kasch

The destruction of U 540 (Type IX C/40) on 17 October 1943, captured on film. On 10 March 1943 for the 4th U-Flotilla, later 10th U-flotilla boat put into service under Kptlt.Lorenz Kasch (U-540) had only a short period of service, seven months after its commissioning, it was the (victim of) bombing by two Liberators. One plane was on attack with 4 depth charges, the second with guns, and the second sealed the end of U 540 with a further 4 depth charges.Total loss. 55 dead (Translated from German to English from the following site - (

10 Mar, 1943 - 17 Oct, 1943 Kptlt. Lorenz Kasch
Career 1 patrol 10 Mar, 1943 - 30 Sep, 1943 4. Flottille (training)
1 Oct, 1943 - 17 Oct, 1943 10. Flottille (front boat)
Successes No ships sunk or damaged
Sunk 17 Oct, 1943 east of Cape Farewell, Greenland, in position 58.38N, 31.56W, by depth charges from 2 British Liberator aircraft (Sqdn. 59/D & 120/H). 55 dead (all hands lost).



This U-boat was attached to the 10th Flotilla (a spanish word meaning a small group or formation of warships or submarines) The 10th emblem is shown below...

10th Flotilla

This emblem of the 10th Flotilla, operating long-range U-boats out of Lorient, France, was made famous by boats such as U-160 (Kptlt. Georg Lassen), U-158 (Kptlt. Erwin Rostin) and U-172 (Kptlt. Carl Emmermann) on their patrols in the Western Hemisphere in 1941-1943.

image © Guðmundur Helgason 1998-200

:::: Source - & 59 Sqn ORB - 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