Date: 13/01/1944
Squadron Code: 'A'
Serial Number: Liberator Mk.V - FL990
U-Boat details : U-621 type IXC/Flak Boat- attacked/severe damages/returned to port
:::: Flight - Mission Details ::::....

Base: Ballykelly
Time Up: 0355hrs - Time Down: 2014hrs - Duration: 14hrs 19mins
Op: A/S Sweep

Update March 2012:

Crew: Pilot: F/O W.G Loney - 2nd Pilot: F/O C.E Goodwin - Nav: F/S R.V.G Costin - Sgt Wilson W.H - Sgt Mercer J.E - W/O J.F Clark - F/S Field K.J - Sgt Dixon J.E

The attack: At 1500hrs in the position 2QJV 3645 a fully surfaced U-Boat was visually sighted from 8 miles 060 Red from 2000ft. A/C attacked from approach made out of sun during which U-Boat altered course to starboard and opened up heavy flak at four miles. A/C tracked over C/T at 50ft. approaching from 120 Green. First D.C exploded alongside hull but other 5 D.C's spaced at 50ft overshot. A/C made second attack dropping 2 D.C's spacing 60ft from a smilar appraoch, tracking over U-Boat halfway between C/T and stern. Stick fell across stern on line from 120 Green. and explosions seen to straddle stern. 3 M/G attacks were then made during which nose, beam and rear guns were used. Hits obtained on and around C/T, one gunner apparently killed, other U-Boat crew went below after second M/G attack, and 2 mins later U-Boat dived. finally disapearing at steep angle with no way on, stern up leaving no debris but pale green dsicoloration of water. A/C left after circling for 15mins. Flak was heavy, but no forward gun seen. U-Boat 517 ton with 2-step C/T. No damage sustained to A/C. At 1533 in posn. 2QJV 3645 off patrol and course set for base, landing at 2014hrs.


Captain of the crew was F/L Wes Loney (sunk U-470). Initially at the time he received a "probable kill" on U-377 but many years later he found out that he had actually attacked U-621 (Endurance, Alwyn Jay). At 1510 Loney and crew made the first of four attack runs on U-621 that would cause serious damage to U-621. The aircraft flew across the U-boat at a level of about 50-60 ft and dropped 3 D/C's. One of them bounced off the outside of the conning tower injuring one German crewman before entering the water, when all three of them exploded, causing the boat to lurch strongly to port. 2nd attack the Liberator dropped 2 D/C's close to the stern and hit the boat with MG fire from the front turret. A German submariner was killed. 3rd attack with MG fire from the Liberator wounding 5 more people. 4th attack with MG fire and at 1527 the U-boat sounded alarm and readied to dive. U-boat submerged rapidly at a 60 degree angle due to flooding caused during the attack. The propeller, axel shaft, tower shield, front and rear areas of the top deck were badly damaged.

Although pictures taken by the Liberator crew during the attack show a straddle of the U-boat causing serious damage, German reports noted that 5 D/C's had hit the top deck and failed to explode (probably during the 2nd attack). According to one of the surviving submariners, the AA guns on the top deck had jammed and malfunctioned possibly due to damage from the aircraft, or faulty ammunition (which was sometimes the case when magazines stored topside got wet).

U-621 was a type XIC/40 conversion flak boat and after suffering 1 man killed (Matrosengefreiter Heinz Thomas) and 6 wounded and due to the extensive damage to the boat, the commander decided to abort the patrol. U-621 took 17 days to limp back to Brest, lucky to escape further attack.

U-621’s log adds further information from the enemy’s perspective: ‘1510 hours: Liberator closing at 7,000 metres, altitude 500 metres. Ordered fire at 5,000 metes, 3-7cm. gun jammed after three shots. Aircraft glides in, going down to 20 metres, crosses over boat starboard to port, three bombs, one bouncing against the conning tower; all detonated at 10-20 metres depth. Boat lists strongly to port. I have only one 2cm. gun firing, as the others are jammed. (Able Seaman) Thomas seriously wounded and died soon afterwards. Enemy crosses boat in every attack from starboard to port at altitude of 10-20 metres. Because he apparently has no more bombs and all my guns are jammed, am going to dive. 1527 hours: Boat going down rapidly at bow at 60 degrees, down to 40 metres, both electric motors running full ahead; listing 12 degrees to port; control board for electric motors on fire. 2058 hours: Surfaced. 2145 hours: Thomas handed over to the sea. Decided to return home because of the damage that could not be repaired.


Image from the logbook of F/O Coston (Navigator/Bomb-Aimer) view more

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

This U-boat belonged to the 9th Flotilla (a spanish word meaning a small group or formation of warships or submarines) The 9th emblem is shown below...

The Laughing Swordfish - 9th Flotilla

One of the more famous emblems, this became the emblem of the 9th Flotilla in Brest, one the most active combat units of the war. Thus is was seen on many boats, most notably U-96 and became famous in the movie Das Boot.

Originally it was face was green but somehow, the red face version has become much more famous and many people have never seen the green one.

image © Guðmundur Helgason 1998-2007

:::: 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