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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 January 2007, 08:41 GMT
Plan aims to raise WWII U-boat
U-boat on seabed
Despite 62 years on the seabed the submarine is recognisable
There is an ambitious plan to raise a U-boat from the seabed off County Donegal.

If it gets the go-ahead the aim is to house the boat in a museum where people can get a glimpse of one of the iconic vessels from WWII.

The British, Irish and German authorities could all be asked to help out with the educational project.

A number of U-boats lie 70 metres deep off the coast of Donegal in the Republic of Ireland.

Even in the murky depths the outline of the U-boat is quite clear, with divers saying the aerials and periscopes are still intact.

It is estimated there are about 150 of them lying off Malin Head - all vivid reminders of the Battle of the Atlantic during WWII.

One of the divers who has been examining the wrecks of Hitler's Wolf Pack, Geoff Millar, said he had been surprised they were in such good condition.

"When we first started diving them we expected to see an old rusty stain lying on the bottom, but it's amazing the condition they're in," he said.

"They're the ones that haven't been shelled or used for target practice.

"There's more ocean going liners lying off Malin Head than anywhere else in the world - 99% of them sunk by U-boats over the two wars.

U-boat
The U-boats were the thing that frightened Winston Churchill most during the Second World War
Richard Doherty
Military historian

"Also there's a ship out there called the Empire Heritage - it has just rows and rows of Sherman tanks on it - there's a lot of stuff there that should be lifted and raised and put forward for a museum."

The U-boats were used by the Germans to attack the Allies in the north Atlantic, and were an important part of Hitler's war strategy.

But that eventually floundered and about 60 of the vessels were surrendered at Lisahally docks in Londonderry in 1945. Many were later taken to sea and decommissioned.

Military historian Richard Doherty said the losses they cause had posed a real threat to the Allied war effort.

"The U-boats were the thing that frightened Winston Churchill most during the Second World War," he said.

"They were the greatest threat to the survival of Britain and therefore the building up of the alliance bases in Britain for the invasion of Europe.

"The U-boats were the weapon with which Germany could have won the war had Adolf Hitler been a sailor and had more appreciation of maritime strategy."

So far only two U-boats have been brought up from the seabed and preserved for public display in Europe - one in Birkenhead in England and another in Germany.

It would be a very expensive project, but those behind the project believe it would be worth it to preserve more of those remnants of the Battle of the Atlantic.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Underwater video of the U-boat





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