Polish Naval Memories of WWII









Władysław Pacewicz, Able-bodied Seaman

Surrender of U407 in the Mediterranean, 19th September

Following his release from exile in the USSR with General Anders, Władysław Pacewicz volunteered for the Polish Navy, serving on ORP Piorun from 1942-43 and ORP Garland from 1944-45.Surrender of U407, MediterraneanIn 1944 Polish Navy destroyer ORP Garland had exchanged Arctic convoy duties for patrols in the warm waters of the Eastern Mediterranean. Here she sank German submarine U-407. Garland spotted smoke on the water from diesel exhaust of a schnorkel. She, and a British destroyer, depth charged the enemy which was forced to the surface early on 19th September 1944. The Polish ship then opened fire with artillery forcing the U-boat to surrender. The crew was rescued and then U-407 was sunk by depth charges.Kasperek in his recollections some 60 years later said that,

we located that submarine’s position with SONAR (sound navigation and ranging) system, so that she could not get out of our range. After ‘sitting on her’ for 26 hours, she finally came up… when our radar had her on the surface we rushed to finish her with our guns. To our surprise their commanding officer ordered his crew to abandon ship. The valves of U-407 were opened, and it just went down. Their crew swam to our ships. We picked up survivors, a lot of them. When the last German survivor came aboard our ship he raised his hand and hollered, “Heil Hitler!”  One of our petty officers punched him in the face, and he fell overboard. Our commanding officer saw this incident, and just said, “Full speed ahead”.

Source: “Poles Apart: Polish Naval Memories of WWII” by Martin Hazell


January to March Deployment at Freetown in continuation.
Nominated for service in Eastern Mediterranean.
April Passage to Alexandria to Join 14th Destroyer Flotilla.
May Joined Flotilla for convoy defence and anti-submarine patrol duties.
June to August Eastern Mediterranean duties with Flotilla in continuation.
(Note: During this period destroyers based at Alexandria were deployed in support of the re-occupation of islands in the Aegean which were being evacuated by German troops)
September 18th During patrol south of Milos sighted U-Boat SCHNORKEL and attacked with HEDGEHOG.
Lost contact and carried out anti-submarine search operations with HM Destroyers TROUBRIDGE, TERPSICHORE, BRECON and ZETLAND.
September 19th U407 forced to surface after depth charge attacks lasting several hours.
Crew abandoned submarine after setting scuttling charges.
47 survivors were rescued.
September 21st At Alexandria for repair of damage caused by depth charge explosions.
October Rejoined Flotilla in support of the reoccupation of Aegean Islands.
Provided naval gunfire support at Kassandra and in Cyclades.
November Nominated for return to UK.
November 20th Took passage to Plymouth for refit.

Source: http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-10DD-25G-Garland.htm


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Władysław Pacewicz