06.09.2018 German troopship from WW2 found at Skagen
The mystery about the biggest German shipwreck from WW2 in Danish waters finally solved
The Sea War Museum Jutland in Thyborøn has, on an expedition in Skagerrak found the wreck of the German troop ship M / S Pionier, which was sunk on 2 September 1940. The ship was on its way from Frederikshavn in Denmark to Frederiksstad in Norway with 823 men and women on board including the crew, when North of Skagen it was hit by a violent explosion and quickly began to sink.
The disaster cost 338 German lives and was the most serious loss suffered by the German forces in Denmark during the five-year long occupation. According to British information, it was a torpedo from the submarine HMS Sturgeon that sent Pioneer to the bottom of the sea, but at the time it was persistently denied by German propaganda. It argued that the ship hit a mine, became victim of sabotage or suffered a boiler explosion. The latter was actually unlikely, as Pionier was a motor ship with a large six-cylinder diesel engine.
After the war, the shipwreck has caused much conjecture, and the wreck of Pionier has long been one of the most sought after in Danish Waters. However, Danish and foreign divers have always searched in the wrong places. The Sea War Museum Jutland found Pionier 15 nautical miles from Skagen at the position 057° 58.368' N, 010° 51.551' E, which is considerably further east than previously assumed. The wreck lies at 177 meters of water, making it very difficult to access.
"Our scanning of the wreck supports the British reports. The aft part of the ship is missing, and everything indicates that the ship was torn apart by a torpedo. The aft part sank in all probability immediately, while the forward part drifted further east, before it sank. We did find the wreck in international waters, but so far east, that it is lying in the Swedish Exclusive Economic Zone," says Gert Normann Andersen, director of Sea War Museum Jutland.
M / S Pionier was a modern motor ship of 3285 gross tons, built as a refrigerated ship for the F. Laeisz shipping company in Hamburg in 1933. The first years it sailed bananas from Cameroon to Europe, but in 1940 it was seized by the German Kriegsmarine and put in service as a troop transport ship between Denmark and Norway.
On her last voyage, Pionier carried a mixed crowd of naval officers, air crew and nurses as well as a large contingent of German Gebirgsjägers (Light Mountain Infantry), who were on their way back from leave. The wind was force 7 to 8 with high seas, and as a fire broke out immediately after the explosion, heartbreaking scenes took place.
The ship quickly developed a list to port and the aft part sank, but due to the fire and large amounts of oil on the sea surface, accompanying and approaching ships could not get close. They had to resign with saving survivors from the water and from life rafts.
All the rescued were brought to Skagen and Frederikshavn, but 93 were never found. On 6 September 1940, 245 Germans were buried at Frederikshavn Cemetery in the war's largest mass grave in Denmark. Some of the missing had probably gone down with the wreck, which therefore must be considered a war grave.
HMS Sturgeon participated later in the pursuit of the Bismarck, and from 11 October 1943 to 14 September 1945, she was lent to the Dutch navy, where she served under the name "Zeehond".
for more information contact Gert Normann Andersen +45 2325 4011 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The disappearing North Sea shipwrecks
Will the North Sea wrecks last forever? North Sea shipwrecks won’t last forever
What happens to North Sea shipwrecks?
Dr. Rory Quinn and Dr. David Gregory visited Sea War Museum in connection with their ongoing collaboration investigating the deterioration of shipwrecks in the north sea. Rory is a marine geoscientist at Ulster University where he is a specialist in multibeam survey of shipwrecks. David is senior scientist at the National Museum of Denmark and specialises in the deterioration of archaeological materials underwater. Rory is helping interpret the multi beam data from the 450 shipwrecks sites surveyed by the museum and JD Contractors and generating and anlaysing these data in a GIS (Geographical Information System). The two year project, funded with support from the Danish Ministry of Culture, started in October 2017 and aims to correlate the current state of the shipwrecks with various physical and chemical parameters so as to model what factors control their preservation and deterioration. Presently the shipwrecks are being classified according to the surviving remains based on the multibeam surveys and these data are being added to the GIS project. In the coming months statistical models of how the harsh north sea environment has and is affecting the wrecks will be developed so that they can be more effectively managed in the future. In the Autumn David and Gert will be looking into how human activities, such as fishing and salvage, also impact these sites.
Ambassador of the Sea War Museum
Nicholas Jellicoe, grandson of Admiral John Jellicoe, is appointed international ambassador of Sea War Museum Jutland in Thyborøn.
Sea War Museum Jutland has from the very first day had an excellent cooperation with the British writer and historian Nicholas Jellicoe, the grandson of the British commander-in-chief at the Battle of Jutland, Admiral John Jellicoe. Today, the cooperation was officially translated into nomination of Nicholas Jellicoe as international ambassador of Sea War Museum Jutland.
Nick Jellicoe grew up in the UK and studied politics at York University and at "L’Institut des Études Politiques" in Paris, but was later lured into advertising. He has worked with some great companies - Rolex, Bvlgari and American Express - to name a few. In 2015 he left Rolex in order to concentrate on a lifelong passion for history and has since then written a book about the Battle of Jutland, "The Unfinished Battle". The book was followed by an extensive website www.jutland1916.com filled with stories of people and ships from the battle. Recently, he has prepared a paperback edition of the book and is already working on new projects.
Nick Jellicoe has participated in a number of Sea War Museum Jutland’s expeditions in the North Sea. He took part in the finding of the last ships from the Battle of Jutland, and he also participated in the fourteen-day long expedition to Scapa Flow last year, where his many connections open many doors for the museum.
Together with Reinhard Scheer-Hennings, the great grandson of the German commander-in-chief in the Battle of Jutland, Reinhard Scheer, Nick Jellicoe was an honoured guest at the inauguration of the Memorial Park for the Battle of Jutland in 2016. This year he attends for the third time at the commemoration of the battle.
Today on 1 June 2018, director Gert Normann appointed Nick Jellicoe as international ambassador of the Sea War Museum Jutland at an event at the museum.
Nick Jellicoes speech at Sea War Museum on June 1 2018
I am deeply humbled by the honour that you have given me today. I am joining an extraordinary team of gifted individuals in a special place: Bitten, John Silver, Knud Jakobsen. Led by a man - Gert Normann Andersen - whose extraordinary generosity, modesty and commitment has given each one of us something very precious. A sense of direction and purpose.
Gert Normann and I have not known each other that long. 4 years but we have built a special friendship on a shared passion.
How those who died at Jutland - or in any conflict – shouldn’t be overshadowed with messages of glory and sacrifice. This is too often the case in national commemorations. The museum is here to tell stories, to make one stop and think, to reflect a little and to try to get a closer to the truth of conflict: the horror of world war.
Every moment of this friendship with Gert, with Thyborøn, with his team, has been very special for me. We have shared our knowledge, helped each other and worked as a team. It has been an extraordinary and very privileged journey for me.
I would never have been able to write about the Jutland wrecks or the remaining wrecks in Scapa Flow without having seen them. Or to have been able to have been part of the documentary films.
Each time I come to this museum it is also like visiting old friends. There are many objects here that are very personal:
- The Union Jack which up until yesterday was on the wall opposite the E.50 conning tower. It was this flag which my grandfather covered his mother’s coffin when she died in 1916 and he wasn’t able to leave the Fleet. It was replaced yesterday with Iron Duke’s white ensign, her battle flag, which I will be taking back to its home on the Isle of White in a month.
- When I see his watches, I think of my grandfather quietly working out what to do in the midst of the chaos of battle. Gert and I had them with us when he invited me to join the expedition in 2015.
- A very special gift to the family by a man who spent three years of his life lovingly making it is the ship’s model of the Iron Duke. Ron wasn’t rich, he was a bricklayer, a man who built houses. He sadly died of cancer and never saw his model here but his widow and I talk each month.
- When the Iron Duke was loaned to the German Naval Museum, Stefan Huck, the museum Director and I then drove here with a model of Lutzow in the back of the van, arriving in the dark, in the rain, working with Gert that night before we left in the morning. I hope that moments like these will also lead to more sharing and co-operation between the principal European naval museums. The story is all the better for sharing our resources and knowledge.
The last four years have been very full of these kinds of memories. Helping digitize photos, translating Knud’s audio guide, using different language versions of the Jutland animation to help German visitors. It has been the greatest pleasure to work with, and learn from, the men and women of the team, J/D Contractor, the Sea War museum. I could spend hours on the bridge of the Vina listening to Mons’ explanations of how multi-beam works and what it helps us now see.
Whatever I can do to bring value and connections to help this wonderful museum, I will do. This is a great honour. I am under no illusion that the tasks ahead are not small. That’s the pleasure of working with people of passion and vision. I am excited about the challenge and look forward to being part of this great team.
April 13 - 2018 Rare German U-boat found in Skagerrak
Sea War Museum Jutland in Thyborøn, Denmark has made a new sensational discovery during its continued registration of shipwrecks in the North Sea and in the Skagerrak.
In April 2018, the museum has found the wreck of the German U-boat U-3523, which was sunk by depth bombs in Skagerrak by a British B24 Liberator aircraft on 6 May, 1945. The day before, the German forces in Denmark, Northwest Germany and the Netherlands had surrendered, and the U-boat was not on a war patrol, but probably on the run.
The U-3523 was of the new and highly advanced type XXI U-boats that could have revolutionized the submarine war if enough boats had been completed in due time. 118 boats were laid down, but only two entered active service, and none ever saw battle.
After the war, there were many rumors about top Nazis who fled in U-boats and brought Nazi gold to safety, and the U-3523 fed the rumors. The Type XXI was the first genuine submarine that could sail submerged for a prolonged time, and the U-3523 had a range that would have allowed it to sail non-stop all the way to South America. But nobody knows, if this was the U-boat’s destination, and nobody knows, if the U-boat had valuables or passengers aboard in addition to the 58 crew, all of whom perished.
At 123 meters depth
U-3523 appeared on the screen during the museum's scan of the seabed ten nautical miles north of Skagen, and the picture was very surprising. Most unusual the whole fore part of the U-boat lies buried in the seabed, while the stern is standing 20 meters above the bottom. The wreck lies at 123 meters of water, making it very difficult to access.
So far, it has been thought that the U-3523 was sunk in the waters northeast of Skagen, but the old position was heavily flawed. The U-3523 lies in fact about 9 nautical miles west of the position, which was reported by the British bomber at the time.
Sea War Museum Jutland in Thyborøn has so far found, registered and measured about 450 wrecks in the North Sea and in the Skagerrak. The museum has until now found the wrecks of 12 submarines, 3 of which are British and 9 are German.
After WW2 Britain, the United States, France and the Soviet Union took over a number of German Type XXI U-boats and used them for a number of years in order to profit from the German technology. In the Soviet Union, the submarine became known as the Whiskey class and was used in active service all the way up to the eighties.
Today, there is only one preserved Type XXI U-boat. It lies as a museum boat in the harbour in front of the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven.
A BIG THANK YOU TO THE SEAWAR MUSEUM
It’s been really exciting to have just spent the last four days on board the survey ship Viña and at the SeaWar Museum in Thyborøn as part of an archaeological expedition to visit some of the key ships wrecks from the Battle of Jutland.
Each time we go back we make new discoveries. The whole journey was filmed by National Geographic Television for a new series on maritime archaeology, Drain the Oceans. The days at sea, the museum and the beauty and deep spirituality of the Jutland Memorial Park have all been covered.
I’ve been able to talk about the wrecks and the stories that they can still tell us about what happened that fateful day in May 1916. I’ve talked about the battle, what happened and why. I’m constantly reminded of the extraordinary toll of the two days of this battle and of the outcomes – many unforeseen – that resulted.
Thank you, Gert Normann Andersen, the crew of the Viña and the staff of the Sea War Museum for being at the forefront of supporting such important historical research and story-telling.
Drain the Oceans will be appearing on the National Geographic Channel later in 2018.
Sea War Museum Jutland marks the Armistice Day by introducing a new type of lists in the museum's exhibition. At each history told in the museum, a small booklet with the names of the perished from each ship will be at the visitors’ disposal.
11 November, 1918
11 November is commemorated in many countries to remember the many millions of dead and wounded of World War I. On November 11, 1918, the Armistice was signed with a promise of early peace talks. The hostilities ended at the 11th hour on the 11th day in the 11th month.
An Important message on 11 November
A photo from Sea War Museum Jutland’s entrance with our main message.
Sea War Museum takes part in a new research project
A two-year project with support from the Danish Ministry of Culture will search to determine how fast shipwrecks deteriorate in the North Sea
Text and photo by Knud Jakobsen
Senior researcher David Gregory of the Danish National Museum's Conservation and Science Department has in collaboration with Sea War Museum Jutland in Thyborøn launched an extensive research project, which might have a decisive influence on the future conservation of the cultural heritage in the North Sea and other vulnerable waters. In cooperation with the museum in Thyborøn and Dr. Rory Quinn of Ulster University he is going to investigate how fast shipwrecks deteriorate in the North Sea.
For decades, it has been regarded as a sound policy to protect historically valuable shipwrecks in situ, i. e. on the seabed, and prohibit all intervention from the view that they thus will be available to future generations. Experience from the Baltic Sea and other protected areas have supported this position, but in the North Sea, the situation is quite different.
"Our latest studies show that a wreck in the North Sea in a worst cases scenario can deteriorate and disappear in just 30 years. Everything indicates that there is an urgent need for a more nuanced view than hitherto. In the future it will be necessary to take the conditions on the spot in consideration," David Gregory says.
He has received DKK 763,000 (102.500 €) from the Research Committee of the Ministry of Culture for his new project, and through affiliation to Sea War Museum Jutland, he has gained access to the largest database over wrecks in the North Sea. It has been created by the founder and director of the Sea War Museum, Gert Normann Andersen, who himself has dived on many of the wrecks.
for more info look HERE
Memorial Park for the Battle of Jutland
Memorial Park for the Battle of Jutland is to be established in Thyborøn, to honour the 8645 British and German mariners, who lost their lives in the battle on May 31st and June 1st 1916.