boat skipper ruthlessly torpedoed British ship then defied Hitler to rescue survivors On the bridge of the Laconia, Rudolph Sharp watched the sun set over the western horizon.
The Atlantic Ocean stretched out before him in all its vast, empty beauty. But beneath the waves, he knew killers were lurking. Aboard his ship, once a luxury Cunard liner, now converted to a troopship, were 2,700 people, mostly Italian prisoners of war guarded by Polish troops, along pandora jewelry official website with dozens of injured British soldiers and other military personnel and 87 women and children mainly families of servicemen. The ship was on its way from Egypt to Britain going the long way round Africa because the Mediterranean was largely controlled by the Axis powers reaching Cape Town at the beginning of September 1942 before sailing up the West African pandora build your own bracelet coast. By September 12, the Laconia was roughly 900 miles south of Freetown, the British naval port in Sierra Leone, and 250 miles north east of Ascension Island. The ship was shabby and in dire need of maintenance. Its hull was festooned in barnacles that slowed it down, and its funnel belched black smoke which was visible for miles. Sharp was painfully aware that his vessel, sailing without a convoy and with only a few guns, was highly vulnerable to a U boat attack. But many of the passengers, relieved to be going home, had begun to relax, despite the regular lifeboat drills. In the cabin she shared with her parents and ten year old brother, Alec, 14 year old Josephine Frame was climbing onto the top bunk as her parents were leaving the cabin to go to a dance in the ballroom upstairs. Suddenly there was, she remembers, 'a horrendous noise. Then a deathly silence'. The ship rocked violently. Then another terrible explosion and the ship began listing to its Laconia had been struck by two torpedoes, one at 8.07pm, the other 30 seconds later. A U boat ace, he had already sunk just short of 100,000 tonnes of Allied shipping during the war. By sinking the 20,000 tonne Laconia, he would reach that total, making him eligible for the German military award, theBut the events of the coming days were to prove that was far from a ruthless Nazi killing machine. price of a pandora bracelet Indeed, in one of the most extraordinary episodes of World War II, he was about to emerge as a very unlikely hero. The story of the Laconia incident, as it became known, has been made into a drama, as well as a documentary, to be search pandora charms shown on BBC2 for the next three nights. It portrays some German submariners, not as the callous monsters of British wartime propaganda, but as courageous, humane men whose behaviour contrasted starkly with that of some of our allies. For the remaining survivors of that terrible night, the events remain painfully clear nearly 70 years on.
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