letter to the editor

Revisiting ‘No torpedoes’

Mon, 08/26/2019 - 3:30pm

Dear Editor:

After my letter captioned “No torpedoes” appeared in the Aug.15 edition of the Boothbay Register, my cousin, John Gould, read it and replied with a related tale. His father, Gardner “Bill” Gould, spent his youth sailing the summer waters of the Boothbay region. During World War II, Bill joined the U.S. Navy and trained as a pilot at Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida. One of the stories he told son John was about the end of the war when he had to fly a German U-boat commander back to the States, from presumably, Argentina. The U-boat commander had been able to navigate his sub and crew safely across the Atlantic to Argentina, which had been neutral until the last days of the war, when it became prudent to declare war on Germany.

The commander's parents were German born, but their son was raised in the U.S. However, with the start of war, he returned to Germany to fight for the Fatherland, and was now being escorted back to the States to stand trial.

Lt. Gould talked with the U-boat skipper during the flight back, and said the captain seemed like a good guy, the two of them talking about their shared sailing knowledge. The U-boat skipper showed John's father his charts of the U.S. coast. There was a reef somewhere around the Boothbay area that Lt. Gould knew of that was not on our charts. He checked the German charts, and found it mapped! Seems as though they had better charts than we did, and perhaps my grandmother, being the daughter of a square-rigger captain, had good cause to worry about those torpedoes!

Bob Chesebro