Admiral Canaris - Momento of the Surrender of the German Submarine Fleet at Harwich, 1919
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59mm x 27mm x 30mm
Brass. ‘Cal 4’ (26.65mm calibre) cartridge case for a 1894 model Hebel signal flare gun, inscribed ‘Boche Unterzeeboote 128 / Surrendered at Harwich Feb. 1919’.
Between November 1918 and April 1919 Germany surrendered to the Allies some 200 U-boats and ancillary vessels at Harwich, Essex. The commanding officer of the Harwich Force, Admiral Tyrwhitt, gave strict orders to his sailors that there was to be ‘no communication whatsoever’ with the German submariners, who were to be immediately shipped back to Germany in transports. The interned UB fleet stretched two miles up the River Stour and quickly became something of a tourist attraction. Inevitably souvenirs unlike the German sailors found their way on shore.
The present cartridge case was removed from Unterzeeboote 128 betwixt Harwich and Falmouth where she met her end off the Cornish coast in a series of explosive tests carried out by the Royal Navy. UB-128 enjoyed only a brief sea going career being launched in April 1918. She was commanded during her two wartime patrols and at her surrender by Kapitanleutnant Wilhelm Franz Canaris who to become known to history as the head of the German military intelligence service from 1935 until his execution for treason in 1944. An experienced Great War submarine commander, Canaris was brought to attention of the Kaiser for exploits in the Mediterranean and awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class. However Canaris only sank one ship while in command of UB-128, the French cargo liner Champlain off the Portuguese coast in August 1918.
Canaris, while a Korvettenkapitän