BACK TO HOME PAGE

             


von dem Borne was an officer aboard U-156 under the famed Werner Hartenstein.  Among his duties was that of gunnery officer.  One sunny Sunday, U-156 was less than half a mile off the Lago Refinery on the island of Aruba, with orders to shell the tank farm and destroy all the gasoline waiting to be loaded onto tankers and shipped to the Allies in Europe and North Africa.  Some people were walking along the road near the tanks and von dem Borne assumed they were going to church, and he decided to wait for them to pass clear.  It was a fatal error, as he was so intent on watching them walk clear that he forgot to remove the water tight lug in the gun barrel.

When the family walked clear, von dem Borne gave the order to fire, and the 10.5cm gun erupted in a sheet of flame and flying steel splinters.  One gunner was dead and von dem Borne was severely injured - his foot blown completely off.

What is interesting is the fact that Hartenstein did not take von dem Borne back to their homeport of Lorient (the 2nd U-Bootflottille) but rather, took him to the island of Martinique in the Caribbean.  This Vichy-controlled island had long been thought by both Roosevelt and Churchill, to be a haven for U-Boats.

von dem Borne lived out the war whereas his fellow crewmen from U-156 did not.

                             BACK TO HOME PAGE