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Re: Surcouf & Project CA.35, Part.1
Posted by: Terry Andrews ()
Date: September 14, 2002 05:45PM

<HTML>Hi all
This is an interesting thread and many of you appear to believe this to be a good likeness for Surcouf, if not her?
Well here is my thoughts and a little history on Surcouf, albeit a long one but i hope you enjoy the story.

On 28th August 1939, Surcouf left Dakar for a secret destination, but the outbreak of war found her at Fort-de-France, Martinique whence she moved to Kingston in Jamaica in mid-September to help escort the second of two fast convoys headed for England. it was the first of several convoy-escort duties but, on this occasion, it was a situation of mutual advantage because the submarine herself urgently needed a refit and required some kind of support while crossing the Atlantic.

Detaching from the convoy in the Western Approuches, Surcouf reached Brest on 19th October, Work was not complete when she was forced to sail on 18th June 1940 to avoid capture by the Germans. Under the command of Capitaine de Fregate Paul Martin, she sailed for Plymouth where she arrived in the early hours of 20th June and lay uneasily while her crew debated the confused political situation. The ratings and particularly the engine-room staff, seem to have had left wing leanings, but the officers were prodominantly right wing to the point of being fascist. The ship's company was, therfore split in much the same way that France herself was divided.

Meanwhile the New French Government at Vichy was negotiating an armistice with Germany and the British Cabinet was awaiting the outcome with considerable apprehension. The pressures on the French Navy mounted on both sides and on 3rd July, Hitler demanded that all French ships must return to France 'or the entire Armistice would be reconsidered'. The bulk of the French Fleet was at Oran and Mers el Kebir and the contrasting British demand, to the French Admiral at Oran, was to fight on or to neutralise his ships, or see them sunk within six hours.
Now a fortnight earlier, the British had already made secret preparations to deal with French vessels lying in British ports in the event that force had to be used, and these vessels now included Surcouf.

Nobody on the British side relished the task, code-named Operation CATAPULT. During the night of 2/3 July, Churchill signalled Vice -Admiral Somerville in H.M.S. Hood, the flagship of Force H waiting at Gibraltar to carry out the Operation.

At 0300 on the morning of 3rd July, at about the time the signal was being decoded in the mediterranean, Commander D. Sprague, Captain of the large submarine HMS Thames, together with Lieutenant P. Griffiths from HMS Rorqual, two engineer officers and a small escort, of ratings and Royal Marines, boarded Surcouf at Plymouth and confronted Commandant Martin. The engineers passed aft to the engine-room where they were apparently regaled with wine at this early hour, while the French officers were all brought into the wardroom. Here Sprague read out to them a statement which said that they were under arrest and that they and the crew would be taken ashore
Martin asked Sprague if he might go and talk the matter over with his Admiral, de Villaine, in the battleship Paris, promising that he would return immediately. Spragu accepted this request and also agreed not to remove any of the crew until martin came back.

Meanwhile, two British ratings were left to guard five French officers in the ward room while Sprague escorted martin up to the casing. One of the Frenchmen asked if he could go to the (heads) and here, evidently a number of pistols were hidden, a few moments later Sprague heard a shot. He drew his pistol and ran back down towards the wardroom where he recieved six bullets before the Gunnery Officer, Bouillaunt, shot him fatally in the head. Griffiths, following Sprague, fired at Bouillant and wounded him in the shoulder, tripping over Sprague's body as he turned to run for help. As he fell, he in turn was shot in the back by the submarine's doctor who then fired his pistol at one of the British ratings, who suceeded in bayonetting another member of the crew before he too, died.
Sprague, Griffiths, one British leading seaman and one french sailor were killed in the scuffle )or died soon afterwards) and two men were wounded before the remainder of the baording party gained control. It was a sad, secretive affair.

Practically all of the French records concerning Surcouf during the war were seemingly destroyed, and if any significant papers remain they are not being released from the archives at Vincennes. It is difficult to be sure of what really happend during the remainder of Surcouf's service under british orders. Even British records are incomplete and facts are mixed inextricably with fantasies, Mysteries, rumours, coincidences and accusations abound on all sides.</HTML>

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Subject Written By Posted
projectCA35 jeroen 09/09/2002 09:51AM
Re: projectCA35 Michael Lowrey 09/09/2002 10:45AM
Re: projectCA35 Rainer Bruns 09/09/2002 02:21PM
Re: projectCA35 Helmut Lepper 09/10/2002 02:50PM
Re: projectCA35 jcrt 03/04/2011 01:01PM
Re: projectCA35 F. Morin 09/09/2002 04:23PM
Re: projectCA35 Rainer Bruns 09/09/2002 05:18PM
Re: projectCA35 Frank Blazich, Jr. 09/09/2002 08:48PM
Re: projectCA35 F. Morin 09/10/2002 04:04PM
Re: projectCA35 Rainer Bruns 09/10/2002 07:12PM
Re: projectCA35 Brian 09/10/2002 09:37PM
Re: projectCA35 Rainer Bruns 09/10/2002 11:17PM
Re: projectCA35 John Griffiths 09/11/2002 04:35PM
Re:French boat? Steve Cooper 09/11/2002 04:46PM
Re:French boat? Rainer Bruns 09/11/2002 05:07PM
Re:French boat? ludovic 09/12/2002 06:27AM
Re:French boat? Joe Brennan 09/12/2002 07:41AM
Re:French boat? ludovic 09/12/2002 09:08AM
Re:French boat? Rainer Bruns 09/12/2002 12:38PM
Re:French boat? Steve Cooper 09/12/2002 04:49PM
Re:French boat? Rainer Bruns 09/12/2002 06:20PM
Re:French boat? Joe Brennan 09/13/2002 04:27AM
Re:French boat? Steve Cooper 09/14/2002 04:41AM
Re:French boat? J.T. McDaniel 09/14/2002 10:42AM
Re:French boat? Steve Cooper 09/14/2002 03:06PM
Re: Surcouf &amp; Project CA.35, Part.1 Terry Andrews 09/14/2002 05:45PM
Re: Surcouf &amp; Project CA.35, Part.2 Terry Andrews 09/14/2002 07:17PM
Re: Surcouf &amp; Project CA.35, Part.2 John Griffiths 09/14/2002 07:25PM
Re: Surcouf &amp; Project CA.35, Part.2 J.T. McDaniel 09/14/2002 11:56PM
Re: Surcouf &amp; Project CA.35, Part.2 John Griffiths 09/15/2002 09:03AM
Re: Surcouf &amp; Project CA.35, Part.2 Steve Cooper 09/14/2002 09:41PM
Re: Surcouf &amp; Project CA.35, Part.2 Vin 09/15/2002 08:42AM
Re: Surcouf &amp; Project CA.35, Part.3 Terry Andrews 09/15/2002 09:07AM
Re: Surcouf fate? Joe Brennan 09/15/2002 10:42AM
Re: Surcouf's Fatal Last Journey. Part .4 Terry Andrews 09/15/2002 01:40PM
Re: Surcouf's Fatal Last Journey. Part .4 John Griffiths 09/15/2002 05:13PM
Re: Thompson Lykes Steve Cooper 09/15/2002 09:58PM
Re: Thompson Lykes John Griffiths 09/16/2002 07:26AM
Re: projectCA35 F. Morin 09/11/2002 09:35PM
Re: projectCA35 Rainer Bruns 09/11/2002 11:02PM
Re: projectCA35 F. Morin 09/12/2002 02:49PM
Re: projectCA35 F. Morin 09/14/2002 04:30PM
Re: projectCA35 Richard Watts 01/03/2015 02:42PM
Re: projectCA35 Michael Lowrey 09/15/2002 04:03PM
Re: Fate of SURCOUF F.H.Hallett 02/09/2011 06:18AM
Re: Fate of SURCOUF jcrt 02/09/2011 11:48AM
Re: Fate of SURCOUF Edward Michaud 02/23/2011 03:07PM
Re: Fate of SURCOUF Ron Booth,USN,Ret 04/16/2013 10:26PM
Re: Fate of SURCOUF Stan Norcom 02/23/2011 07:08PM

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