1945 George VI

King George VI at Lisahally near Londonderry, Northern Ireland

On 17 and 18 July 1945 British King Georg VI, together with his family, payed a ceremonial visit to Northern Ireland as part of his “Victory Tour” through Britain after World War II was won. After visiting Belfast he and his family embarked on the yacht Hiniesta (was renamed Madiz in 1979), that was used as “Royal Patrol Yacht” for this purpose, to sail for Londonderry. Approaching Londonderry along River Foyle he passed those 62 Kriegsmarine U-boats (Photographs at www.madiz.com and www.panzergrenadier.net/forum), which were assembled there after having surrendered in May 1945, awaiting their fate either in final scuttling or in further use by the war Allies. This visit was documented by the British Movietone “British Pathe” and shows the passing of the German U-boats (Video can be watched at www.madiz.com or www.britishpathe.com).

The King used his presence at Lisahally on 19 July 1945 to spend a closer look at the two Type XXI U-boats U 2513 and U 3008, which were just taken over by the US Navy, and where he was given a tour of the U-boats by the US Naval personal, although he did not go on board. See below the memories of an US Naval Officer, who was witness of the visit.

Captain (USN, rtd.) Ira Dye (Source: The Forgotten Submarine Bastards of Ireland in “Vignettes, Recollections & Anecdotes in: Naval Engineers Journal, November 1990, pg. 64-69, etd. by the American Society of Naval Engineering) was member of the team of USN U-boat specialists which took over German U-boats in Europe to transfer them to the US and he wrote:

“During this delay we had what was for Americans a rare experience. King Georg VI, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) and Princess Margaret, came to Northern Ireland on a ceremonial royal visit. In 1945, although there was barely submerged hostility between the Protestants “Orangemen” who ran Northern Ireland and the Catholic Minority, the increasing violent troubles that have since devastated the area subsided during the war years.

The king, who was a career naval officer was well as king, expressed a desire to see some of the U-boats that had come so close to strangling his kingdom. So a visit to Lisahally was arranged, and Capt. Sharpe was asked if the American group could provide an honor guard for the Royal party to inspect, along with a Royal Navy group. At the time, the U 2513 and U 3008 were the only U-boats that were in full operating status and freshly painted, so the ceremony took place on or dock, where they were tied up. The crews of the U 2513 and U 3008 turned out in dress blue, the king came by, spoke for a bit with each of us skippers, asked knowledgeable questions about the Type XXIs and gave the two boats a good look-over. The queen and the two princesses then came down the line and we were informally presented to them. Then the royal party went up to Londonderry to do things that royalty does for a living.”