One of the most feared weapon of the World Wars, German U-boats gained reputation for stealth and deadliness especially in the First World War. In a very unusual turn of events a propeller from one of the WW1 U-boats has been handed over to Germany after almost 100 years.
The particular propeller belonged to a sunken U-boat, which was stolen by some illegal divers. In 2004 the propeller was recovered as a result of a police raid in Kent.
A ceremony was held in Portsmouth Naval Base, the artifact was returned to the officials from German Navy. According to the spokesperson of the coastguard the propeller came from a German U8 submarine. Spokesperson of Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) said that the ceremony reflects on the fact that times have changed significantly since both nations went to war with each other, the BBC News reports.
He added that today both nations are enjoying a rather cordial and friendly relationship, something that was lacking a few decades ago. This return doesn’t just reflect the respect between the two nations, it also marks the commemoration of the sacrifices made by the soldiers from both sides. He also said that the ceremony also celebrates the journey of peace of prosperity of the two countries since the world wars.
On the occasion German Navy attaché said that the return of the historic artifact after almost a century shows the strength of the friendship between Germany and United Kingdom.
The propeller holds another significance, said the spokesperson of Maritime Coastguard Agency, it comes from the first U-boat that sank in the First World War. During the First World War Germany Army effectively utilized their U-boats to literally choke the Allies by destroying a number of merchant ships carrying goods for the soldiers and the people. Some U-boats were even used to rescue German POW’s from camps across Europe. Although the Allies came up with an effective convoy method to counter surprise U-boats attacks, however the damaged done by U-boats was massive and went down in history as one of the biggest German victories over the Allied army.
The records at German Navy suggest that although German U8 had a considerably short combat career, it performed very well and successfully destroyed and sank five British merchant ships. In 1915 the submarine came under fire and sank, there was no casualty and all 25 crew along with 4 officers were taken as prisoners of wars.
The artifacts from the world wars nowadays stay in the museums or on rare occasions, with private collectors. Nevertheless these relics remind us of our bitter past and invite to reflect on a better and peaceful present and future.