Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Submarine’s (U-534) new lease of life
By Kevin Core
February 5, 2008
By Kevin Core
February 5, 2008
A “GIANT wire cheese cutter” sliced into a piece of Merseyside’s naval history today.
Work began this morning dividing the German submarine U-534 into four sections.
Tourist officials hope it will become a major attraction at Mersey Ferries’ Woodside terminal.
Engineers were using a state-of-the-art diamond wire cutter to cut up the 240 ton U-boat.
It was sunk en-route to Norway by depth charges dropped by a Liberator aircraft from RAF 547 Squadron.
The operation is expected to take up to one month.
Each section will make a day-long journey by floating crane from Mortar Mill Quay to Woodside.
Cuttings were designed with such precision the sub could be reassembled in one piece.
But visitors at the new attraction will be able to walk around the hull parts on raised platforms.
The first section to be removed will be a 23-metre length of the bow.
Work so far has concentrated on painting the exterior and removing rotten timbers and steelwork from the top deck.
Due to open in summer, the exhibition area will include artefacts such as tools found on the sub and memorabilia portraying the history of undersea warfare.
Fifteen thousand litres of diesel remained in the U-534’s storage tanks which had to be pumped out.
Neil Scales, chief executive and director general of Merseytravel which owns and operates Mersey Ferries, said: “We’re now moving on to the next stage in what is an exciting project to boost tourism on Merseyside.
“More people than ever will be able to view the sub in its new location with superb viewing areas so that everyone will be able to see what it is like inside.”
Saved from the breaker
A PROJECT to restore a 105-year-old coal-powered Merseyside tugboat which was saved from the scrapyard has been given a funding boost.
The Daniel Adamson is being brought back to its former glory by a team of volunteers.
Now the project has landed a £10,000 donation from the Merseyside Lightship Preservation Society (MLPS).
The charity, originally formed to save the historic Mersey Bar lightship Planet, decided that their remaining funds should be spent on the tug after Planet was purchased privately.
MLPS chairman Stan McNally said: “It was the natural choice, based on Merseyside with the best prospect of success.”
Built in Birkenhead, the Daniel Adamson is the only surviving steam powered tug tender in the UK.
History of a relic
Launched in February 1942 U-534 was most probably a training boat in the Baltic
She never saw active combat and was used for meteorological purposes
In May 1944, U-534 was released for operational duty avoiding contact with the enemy to ensure regular weather reports
On May 5, 1945 while in the Kattegat, north-west of Helsingor, it refused Admiral Dönitz’s order for all U-boats to surrender.
Heading north towards Norway, with no flag of surrender, she was attacked by a Liberator aircraft from RAF 547 Squadron which dropped depth charges.
U-534 took heavy damage and began to sink, 49 of 52 crew members survived.
It was discovered in 1986 and was thought to be carrying Nazi gold. It was given to Merseyside by Karsten Rae.