75 years ago, on January 30, 1945, in the Danzig Gulf of the Baltic Sea, the Soviet submarine S-13 under the command of Captain 3rd Rank Alexander Marinesko sank the German transport Wilhelm Gustloff.
THE RIVER, BAR AND BIGHT
Nostalgia for the life ashore,
But as a magnet drawn,
The gentle movement of the deck,
Tells me again I’m borne;
For distant shores I’ve never seen,
What better than to sleep and dream,
To lullaby of engine room,
Its song of fate, adventure, doom?
Ships aren’t meant to sink, but sometimes you have to wonder what miraculous forces kept a vessel afloat. The SS Baychimo was such a ship. For nearly four decades after it was abandoned, this 1,300-ton cargo ship sailed the Arctic without fuel or crew, until it disappeared just over fifty years ago, but some believe she is still out there drifting among the frozen icebergs.
After the defeat of the Workers Reich the Allies notoriously thieved everything they could lay their hands on. The Allies motto; ‘if it moves steal it; if it can’t be moved, blow it up’.
The story about the sinking of the Gairsoppa is ordinary, but the weight of the treasure it was carrying when sent to the bottom was one of the largest in the world.
Weigh anchor, and raise the Saint Andrew’s cross of the Russian Fleet, it’s time to sail back into history. Amongst his feats, this hero can boast over 40 battles without tasting defeat; this is Fyodor Ushakov, Admiral of the Russian Fleet.
Pamir, a four-masted barque, was one of the famous Flying P-Liner sailing ships of the German shipping company F. Laeisz. She was the last commercial sailing ship to brave the notorious rounding of Cape Horn, in 1949. By 1957, the barque had been out-dated by modern bulk carriers and was by then unable to operate at a profit.
The French surrendered to the Germans on June 22, 1940. The terms of the capitulation were unusual. The Germans permitted the new French administration, under Marshall Petain, to establish itself in the city of Vichy in the south and central France. From there, unoccupied independent Vichy France governed over half of the French landmass in the south of France whilst retaining their overseas colonies and their navy.
At regular intervals, all vessels are placed in Dry Dock where they are thoroughly examined and repaired before being licensed to return to the high seas. The great ocean liners were no exception. The then 16-year-old Michael Walsh was one of the skeleton crew left to man the RMS Britannic during its repair and renovation in north Liverpool’s Dry Dock.
100 years ago, in November 1920, the White Guards evacuated from the Crimea. Off media radar is one of the most horrific holocausts to stigmatise the half-human race. The proud Cossack had long suffered stigmatisation, hate and horror by the Bolsheviks. On November 14, 1920 one of the largest flotillas in European history was moored off the bay at Sevastopol in Crimea. The rescue by armada included 150 ships of every size and type imaginable. Most but not all were ships of Imperial Russia.