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Hans-Georg Hess served aboard U-466 for several Feindfahrten then
in August 1944, just a few months past his 21st birthday, he was posted to
command U-995. He liked the photo above right best because
it showed him smiling.
I first met Hans-Georg in person in Key Largo at our First annual Convention -
Key Largo, Florida in 1987. Who could know that this would become a strong
friendship across the ocean and Hess was to become my best friend in Germany.
In the photo lower left, Hess is at the controls of the glass bottom boat in
Captain Slate's Atlantis Divers and his good friend and former Skipper of
U-466 Gerd Thäter looks on. Bottom right - Hess is in the center
of the photo in 1997, also on one of Captain Slate's boats - and always smiling.
Mike Torreson, who took the photo on the right, telephoned from America's
heartland with his condolences.
Hans-Georg received his 'Final Orders' and began his 'Eternal Patrol'
Friday 28 March 2008. There were so many wonderful emails we thought it
was necessary to share them here. First is the email I sent to all
Sharkhunters Members who are on our HOT MAIL Link:
Sharkhunters HOT MAIL
This is the most difficult and sad news I have been forced to tell you
in two dozen years. My best friend in Germany died last night.
Hans-Georg Hess was the youngest combat submarine Skipper of World War
II and probably of all time. He commanded U-995, which today is in Laboe
outside Kiel Germany, on five war patrols at a time when U-Boats were not
returning from their first war patrol. He was awarded the Knights Cross for
his efforts. After the war, he became an attorney and eventually a Doctor
He was our solid iron bridgepost in Germany and did more to help
Sharkhunters than even I know. There is so much more to be said, but at the
moment, I am not thinking too clearly. There will be a more fitting message
about my friend in KTB #208.
Please keep this fine and honorable man in your thoughts and prayers.
God bless him!
From Eric Krogh
I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. Dr. Hess was a true
gentleman, and was most gracious and giving. Please accept my condolences.
Model builder CASPER emailed
indeed very bad news , l did not know the man but getting to feel like l did
, again sorry for the mail and for HG `s death , it makes my U-995 more
important as now its in memory of the man who sailed in her , so sorry .
From Lou Mari
Those of us who are devoted to
preserving honor and truth in history are deeply saddened to learn of
this great man's passing. Our sincerest condolences to his family and
friends in Germany, and especially to you who loved him so much.
let us rejoice in the knowledge of what he accomplished, and let us
continue to revere his memory.
From Wayne Jenevein
This is terrible news. Wow what a blow. Too sudden for
us. He was going after that Guido thing this past week. That
was a sign of strength. I know what you are going through
right now. Sharkhunters is a strong group, we can handle adversity
but this the most serve blow to the group. Thank you for
getting the word out to us so fast. Anything I can do?
During our 1999 "Northern Patrol" Hess is with us at
his former command, U-995
From Erik Matthews
I am glad that I was able to have met this man on two occasions. He
and his son and daughter were excellent hosts. I will treasure the
photo a fellow sharkhunter's member gave to me of Dr. Hess mugging
at the periscope of his old U-boat. I am glad he had lived a good
life after the war, though in the early years after the war's end
this was not always easy. He will be greatly missed, for he was a
decent and honorable man and a great human being. He never forgot is
comrades and U-995 will be a memorial for those men who went to sea
but did not return. Fair winds and following seas, dear
friend...Fair winds and following seas...
During a "Patrol" in Chicago (from the left)
Hans-Georg Hess (Skipper of U-995 and Knights
Cross), Jürgen Oesten (Skipper of U-61, U-106, U-861
and Knights Cross), Eberhard von Kettelhodt
(Training Skipper), Hermann
Hoffmann (Skipper of U-172) from the U-Bootwaffe and Harold McCormick from the U. S.
Navy - he was Gunnery Officer on a ship that was sunk by Oesten. All but Oesten have departed on their "Eternal
During a "Patrol" in Chicago, Hess is being
interviewed for television on the deck of USS SILVERSIDES
My most sincere condolences, Harry. Herr Hess has gone on
to The Lord, but on our "human level", I can't imagine how hard
this must be for you ! U-995
goes on to Eternal Patrol.
Although I never knew the man, considering how much he did
for Sharkhunters and him being
your best friend, I for one, will pray for his soul. Right
now, just rest, heal up and grieve in your own way.
God Bless !!
At a "Patrol"
in Chicago, Hess is with his friends Christian Reauleaux (served
aboard German cruisers) and Paul Gatzke who served aboard a
Kriegsmarine supply ship.
From Russ Lockwood
I am sorry to hear about
Herr Hess. I know how close you two were. I met him (and you and
his son) at the Sharkhunters booth at the Celebrate History show
S. San Francisco back in 1999 and
then went to his informative lecture and Q&A session. I have
always enjoyed his reminiscences within the pages of KTB. Please
extend my condolences to his family.
From Nahuel Coca
am sorry for you, Harry. This must be a terrible loss for you.
During a "Patrol" in Austria, Hess (left) chats
with another Knights Cross holder - tank commander Ernst Barkmann.
From Loren Charles and Mary Myers
Please send my deepest
condolences, my deepest respects and my sincerest regrets to
the family of Hans-Georg Hess. I know that eventually
Death claims us all. Nevertheless, there are certain
people you want to see live far beyond their years, and
Hans-Georg Hess was certainly among them.
I am eternally grateful that you and Sharkhunters made it
possible to meet the great men of history, men whose eyes,
voice and handshake alone could convey the enormity of the
world shattering events they witnessed and in which they
participated. Thank you, Harry. You have my very
Above photo - Hans-Georg Hess in beret with me in uniform at
U-995 in 1999
From Adolph Zeiseness
From Edward Hsiao
I'm truly very sorry
that your best friend Hans-Georg Hess had passed away.
He suddenly got his sailing orders to go on eternal
patrol for which there is no return to earth. I guess
there will be a somber memorial service that will take
place aboard the submarine U-995 which
Hans-Georg Hess had commanded during WWII. I know that
Otto Kretschmer, Erich Topp, Kurt Diggins, and other U-boat
commanders had became your close advisors and friends
during the years you headed "Sharkhunters" but now they
are sailing on eternal patrol hopefully
together. Hess will meet them. I silently salute
From Colonel Curt Ebitz, U. S. Army (Ret), Vietnam
sorry to receive this sad news about your best friend in
Germany. I know this is a heavy loss for you given your
admiration for him and the long friendship that the two
of you shared.
From Chuck Myles
So sorry to hear
this news about Hans-George Hess, an icon of the
Kriegsmarine U-boats to many of us Sharkhunters.
Know that we will have him, and you, in our
prayers. We must consider ourselves fortunate to
have had this man as a fellow member and that he
gave so much of his life to us through his advice,
reports and history. You, as a personal friend,
must remember the good times you shared with him
through the years. We share your grief at his
passing. Stay strong,
From Bradley Wargin
your loss. With his passing all his
knowledge goes with him. Despite what 80%
of high school students in "Amerika" think that
history is the most boring subject, history is
the most important subject.
During our 1999 "Northern Patrol",
Hess is back at his battle station aboard
From David Stalter
I'm so sorry to hear about your friend passing. My thoughts are with you and the family of
From Bill Kruse
It certainly is sad news not only for you but
for all of us in the Sharkhunters community! I
did not know him personally but thanks to the
KTBs sent to all the members I truly enjoyed
reading about the tremendous achievements and
exploits of Hans-Georg Hess during WW2. He will
be sorely missed!! Again my condolences to you
and his family--sail on in peace!
From Hans Pustelnik
Very sorry to hear this news about your friend.
My condolences to you.
From Jagdev Singh
Shocking news indeed!
From Bill Napier, USMC combat veteran, Vietnam
O Harry, it is with heavy heart that I read your
news, on the death Kapitän Hess. What a fine
man, a complete gentleman. He was VERY kind to
me, and ALL of us, everytime we went to Germany.
What a shock, this will take some time to get
over. Now Harry, what happens to this great
From Ezio Maiolini
I am so
sorry. I pray tonight for Mr. Hess and his
family. What little I know of him from
you, he was legend to those who were his
brother. God bless His good and obedient
servant. I wish I could have met him.
From Larry Kagin, Sgt Major, U.S. Army
Harry, whatever you think you deserve in
pay, it will never be enough! To lose so
many friends each year! I know that
people think you are a money making machine
from SH, but please pass on my words to
anybody: Fudge Off & KMA. PRINT IT!
Your friend who is crying.
From Tom Hart
so tragic but we are everyday losing a
THE GREATEST GENERATION (World War II
Generation) of people. Those of us
who have come in succeeding generations
after them cannot even hold their socks.
Definitely those men are going through
Saint Peter's Gate where they will be
welcomed by Our Lord Jesus Christ, in a
beautiful place of love where there is
never any war, hatred, sorrows, sadness,
madness nor darkness. Rather in
this beautiful place there is love,
light, forgiveness and joyful reunions.
During our 2002 "Northern Patrol"
Hess (on the right) with his friend
Hannes Esken, Luftwaffe Major
From Lars Sunn Pedersen
Though I of course did not know HESS and
"The Bear" I will bring them my best
thoughts and prayers for them - no doubt
they were outstanding persons - also to
you who lost 2 great friends !
From 'Chaz' Pityk
Wow, Harry, very sad
indeed....Hans-Georg was truly one
of the good guys.....I remember in
95 when you gave him the portrait of
him in the dining room of the hotel
Wehrmen-Blume in wunstdorf, you did
it because he would take NO
reimbursement for all he did for
us....he had tears in his
eyes.......as for me, he was
extremely kind to a beer guzzling
hippie biker-type, he didn't prejudge
you, he sized you up and went from
there.....another time I asked him a
question and started with "Dr.
Hess....", and his quote back to me
was "nein, nein, nein, you are Chaz so
I am Hans-Georg....", and most
sadly, a little while ago I met a
really great chick, and assuming all
went well, I was gonna get ahold of
you to see if he would marry us on
the bridge of the 995,
because as far as I was and still am
concerned he was and still is the
C.O. of the U-995......just
from a little further away
now....and with the concurrent news
of Dave, wow, this is unfortunately
reminiscent of may 1943....and me,
the guy who always has a wisecrack
or a joke to share, just ain't got
none with this kind of news.....I'm
just glad I met him twice in 95 and
98 and have memories....well Harry,
we just gotta keep it going for them
and all who went before.....the
truth must be exposed and
preserved.....take care my friend
From Neil Haglund
My sincere condolences to you Harry
From Commander Eric Berrymann USN
On January 12, 2004, Hess called
to discuss a conversation he had
with (his former Skipper) Gerd Thäter. Thäter lay dying
and had called to ask if Hess
would read his eulogy at the
funeral. Thäter did not know
how much more time he had left
but he was taking care of
details. For the eulogy Hess
wanted to use an incident when
he was under Thäter's command
and asked if I thought it was a
suitable story. He recalled an
incident when he was all of 18
years old aboard U-466
and under fearful depth charge
attack which Thäter was
attempting to dodge by going
ever deep into the sea, probably
deeper even than the builder's
predicted crush depth. “I was
visibly afraid,” Hess
remembered. “When Thäter looked
up and saw my face he leaned
over to me and quietly said, ‘Don’t
be afraid, Hans Georg. We can’t
fall lower than into the hands
From Bill Olsen
I was shocked and
saddened by the news of Dr.
Hess's death. I know how
much he meant to you and to
Sharkhunters. I was
fortunate to have known him
for all too brief a time. A
photograph of he and I
raising a glass of beer
hangs on my wall. I can see
it as I am writing this.
I'll never forget the
first time I met Tilman who
recognized me, all though we
had never met, from that
same photograph that hung in
his fathers office. I felt
honored. We were all lucky
to have known him. We will
all miss him.
At our 2003 "Northern
Patrol" from the
left is Hans-Georg Hess, me
(Harry Cooper) and Tilman
From Harry Hall
GOD & his friends will
welcome him - he was a good
From US Submarine Veteran
ITS SAD YOU HAVE
LOST YOUR VERY GOOD
FRIEND HANS. I MET
HIM WITH YOU ON OUR TRIP
A FEW YEARS BACK & YES
HE WAS A PERFECT
GENTLEMAN, WE ALL SHARE
From Marilyn Timms
How very sad. I met Hans
Georg Hess at Celebrate
History in San
Francisco. What an
admirable man he was! My
condolences to his
From Dr. Renee
I am completely
shell shocked – I
just opened my mail
box - I can’t read
my private one every
day) and saw this
terrible news of
eternal patrol. I
simply can not
believe this. I am
first for you
because I know how
dear a friend he was
to you. I am so so
Secondly, I was
putting much hope in
his law suit
thank God for you.
You have been
reporting the truth
for so long and have
thousands of people
come to see things
in another more fair
light. I can not
express my gratitude
to you, nor my
sympathy on the loss
of your good and
dear friend. I
will try calling you
that is going on
here. Again let me
offer my deepest
sympathy to you,
family and to all
family as well.
These are two
From Ninon Collet
sorry for the loss
of your friend and
supporter, as well
as for the loss of
one of the last
remaining members of
the U-Waffe who
stands up for the
fighting men who
did their duty.
At our 2003 "Northern
Hans-Georg and my
son Sean Patrick
Cooper became fast
always sent pictures
and sculptures of
favorite bird, to
him and Hess always
sent back something
nice for Sean.
My son was
devastated when he
learned of his
Fernandez, U.S. Army
salute and respects
I am truly sorry
to hear of the
I never had the
meeting him, but
accounts he was
a really Class A
gent. I send my
prayers to all
his family and
friends at this
At our 2003 "Northern
Monroe and Hess
CAPT HESS 'S
I HAD THE
; MET HIS
I WAS EVEN
TO BE A
BEST TO YOU
At our 2003
Hess and his
a small mat
to you also
on both of
all the way
At our 2005
Hess is in
the right of
Rouse U. S.
to go on
Coincidentally enough I was listening to the soundtrack
So sorry to hear about the loss of your best friend Hans-Georg Hess. I felt like that I knew him personally in reading all the years of your publication. I meet many veterals on the Southern Patrol, all so good and proud of service to Germany, but Hess was someone that was specical to you. I know you will miss him...I wish I could have meet him and called him my friend also.
Rick Savel had met Hans-Georg and he telephoned from all the way across the USA with his condolences.
From Jim Hummel
Those of us involved in U-Boot history mourn the passing of a fine gentlemen and warrior - Dr. Hess. Our sympathy and condolences go to
his family. Our prayers are with him on his journey in the next world.
From John Zaro
My deepest sympathy to the Hess family, Sharkhunters, and you. I am just in shock of his passing. What can one say in words that you and I already know about Herr Hess. I will write back soon. As you said this very tragic and terrible news.
From Charlie Wendt
Extremely sad. A great Man. And nice to listen to. Fair seas and clear skies.
From Mary Myers
I'm so very sorry that your dear friend has passed and has begun his eternal patrol. I also want to thank you for enabling the patrols in
which we are able to meet these fine veterans. I was one of the lucky ones that was on the patrols where we were able to meet this
very fine man. My heart aches for his family, you, and history.
From Mike Torreson
I was saddened to learn of Hans-Georg Hess' passing. I was looking forward to him takeing on the "German Dan Rather/Ambrose"! The tribute page brings back warm memories of the Sharkhunters Convention in Key Largo about a dozen years ago. I was the one who took the picture from the bow of one of Capt. Slates boats of several Sharkhunter veterans, Pete Petersen, you ,standing by a smileing Hans-Georg Hess, Red Nordenberg, Captain Beach. Later , while in Key West Dr. Hess took a picture of me standing by the marker indicating it was only 90 miles to Havana, Cuba, and I snapped one of him, with a bright smile ,of course! He will be missed !
Again from 'Chaz' Pityk
Hey man I just wanted to tell you how honored I am to have my comments included in the H.G.H. memorial page, and how much it means to me personally to know you and to have been able to do a couple patrols......without you my friend, like I told you in the parking lot of the Wehrmen -Blume in Wunstdorf in 95, NONE of this kinda stuff could have happened....NONE of it without you, your personality and contacts that you have made.....you should feel great that H.G.H. loved you for the work you have done, he and you are "class acts", a term you once used to describe me.....i guess birds of a feather......okay dude, be cool!!!!!!!!
Mike Maffia telephoned with his condolences.
"Wolf" Wolfersperger is a currently serving Senior Master Sergeant in the US Air Force, and he emailed
I am sorry to hear of Hess and his passing. I wish I could have met him in person. His spirit must have been strong and his life most interesting. As time goes by I feel a bit diminished inside myself as I see friends or someone in the same line of work such as myself end life. I just remind myself to retain some faith and go on, and that is what I do and that is what my friends want me to do also. That is what
you must do too.
From Bill Donegan
Thank you for the updates. I read all the e-mails just yesterday and was blown away by it all. My heart is saddened and my prayers go out to his family, Behut Sie Gott.
From Roland Ihle
I am truly very sorry that your best friend Hans Georg Hess had passed away. It certanly is sad news for all of us. I send my prayers to his family and friends. He will be missed.
U. S. Navy veteran John Hanniford telephoned with his condolences.
More from USMC combat veteran Bill Napier
So sad, im still in shock.
And more from Sergeant Major Ken Rouse
I still can't believe Hans-Georg is gone; especially after having heard from him only 2 weeks ago today. Thank God I never got around to erasing my messages and plan to keep his voice on my answering machine for some time to come. It was only a few months back that I attended the services in Nürnberg for Walter Kasparek, who, as you know, was another of Gerd Thäter's I-WOs and another very fine man. That was another great shock as shortly before I had seen him at the annual Reunion of U-466/3506 in Kehlheim. In my humble opinion the world is a lesser place without men like these. Hopefully we will all be, each in his or her own time, reunited in a better place and once more sharing comradship and laughter.
From Steve Shock
I can not believe it. I can not tell you how sorry I am about the sudden loss of one of your best friends, and one of Sharkhunter's best friends. This is a blow that will be felt not only for as long as Sharkhunters exists but for as long as we stay on the right side of the grass ourselves. I just do not know what to say.
Mathew Hall telephoned from Germany with his condolences.
From Frans Luyben
First, my cincere condolances with the ´eternal patrol´of such good and honest men!! I was shocked to hear off Mr.Hess´s death, such a vital and great man! You have my deapest feelings off sympathy with these losses, and I do indeed pray for these brave men!
Art Aydelotte telephoned his condolences across the USA
From Steve Grabowski
I've been out with the RV and just heard about the terrible loss for all of us with the passing away of Dr. Hess. With this Eternal Patrol departure, I sadly weep a tear for history itself. My condolences, Harry, although I never met him, I know what he meant to you and countless others.
Tonight, at sunset, I will be at the ocean's edge and will give a last salute in his honor.
Bill Olsen telephoned from America's heartland with his condolences
From James Edwards
It's so disturbing to read updates like this. While it gives me solace to know that these great men are now receiving their eternal rewards, it's disheartening because they can never be replaced. I'm not sure if our world will ever again see men of the make and mold of the German veterans.
Raul Colon telephoned from the Caribbean with his condolences
From John Devlin
I am really sorry to hear that Harry. It is strangely coincidental because myself and my father travelled from Ireland to Hamburg on the 22nd to 26th of March last for the special purpose of visiting U995 at Laboe. We really had a nice morning, and we had a lovely walk along the coast road from Laboe to the ship. The u-boat and museum is beautifully kept and maintained, and, I fulfilled a lifelong ambition.
My sincerest regrets at that news again.
From Joe Meyer
Herzliches Beileid. I am also saddened to hear of Herr Hess' departure from this world. Memory takes me back to 1991 at the Chicago Sharkhunters Convention. I was fortunate to speak with Mr Hess. We led the group singing "Westerwaldlied" at supper that evening.
From "Mike" Michaelson
Concerning Hess - I met him on two or three patrols and thought he was a very fine old gentleman and I'm sure sorry to hear that he has departed on his final patrol.
From Paul Angel
Sorry to hear about your friend Hess. I know you will miss him.
From New Member Austin Craig
I was saddened to learn we had lost Hans-Georg Hess on March 28. I really appreciate the signed photo of him you sent me and that I have framed on my desk.
From Master Mariner, US Merchant Marine Stephen Powell,
Condolences to you and the Hess family on Hans-Georg's passing. Having been a Sharkhunter member since 1991, I enjoyed reading your articles on U-995 and your close relationship with surviving U-boat veterans. Your organization has done a lot to preserve thier legacy as honorable men who did thier duty. Without Sharkhunters, I am sure many of them would have faded away without any recognition in today's modern world of historical indifference.
From U-Bootfahrer Rolf Rosellen
Yes, I have read everything and I was very sorry to hear about it. I have met him several times. He was a great man.
Sharkhunters was represented at the funeral by Sergeant Major Ken Rouse, U.S. Army (Retired). His words.....
"When the remembrance for our dear Hans-Georg started, the small church in his town was filled to capacity; with scarcely an empty seat to be found. I would say that there were between 150-180 people (possibly more) assembled to say farewell to this outstanding man. In addition to family, friends, the Marine Bund, and former crew members of his there were also 2 representatives that I saw from the Ordensgemeindschaft der Ritterkreuztraeger (Knights Cross Holders Association) in attendance, both wearing their 1957 version of the cross. The pastor gave, as is usual in these situations, a thumbnail summation of Hans-Georg's life, but I will admit that I was somewhat disconcerted when it went from his entrance into the Marine to his commanding the U-995 at the end of the war without mentioning his service on U-466 and with no mention of his receiving the Knight's Cross in 1945. So it goes, I guess. When the service in the church was over, all present went to the cemetary for the interral. When we were all assembled there a lone trumpet played "Ich Hatt Ein Kameraden". "Once I had a comrade"...what more fitting for our friend? After all had filed by to pay their last respects (and, yes, I presented a salute both for Sharkhunters and for myself), most went with the Hess family to the Deutsches Haus to share remembrances and social connection for a time. It was a gray, lowery day with a few drops of rain in the air as though the heavens were holding back tears for the loss of Hans-Georg. On Saturday morning I returned to the cemetary with a young neighbor of his, who served on a U-Boat with the current Bundesmarine, to say my last goodbye (and found his resting place totally bedecked with flowers) and then stopped in to pay my respects to Heilwig before driving home. At this point the skies opened up for most of the rest of the day, which I found also fitting. Please forgive my somewhat melodramatic prose, but I chose to think that our sorrow was shared by Higher Powers and that was the indication".
Baard Haugland of the
Royal Norwegian Navy WW2
about the loss of Hans
IN REMENBRANCE OF HANS GEORG
HESS - 1923-2008
You and I were enemies in
WW2, but spescial friends in
peacetime. I remember
well our meeting in Kiel
1992, when you told me:
"Our job was to sink ships,
not to kill people!".
That was an exemplary
attitude, as I respect very
much! And you lived up
to that saying, when you
picked up two Russians after
sinking their ship, and
landed them in Tromsoe,
I'll remember you and your
attitude, Hans Georg Hess!
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