Here is their story of the Skipper of the Greek steamer ‘Diamantes’ to the ‘Daily Telegraph’ of how on October 4th, 1939, he and his men were landed in Ireland after 34 hours hospitality in a German submarine.
Watched by Civic guard who were powerless to interfere, a German U-boat appeared within 100 yards of the shore on a lonely part of the Kerry coast or Eire, and landed 28 survivors of a Greek steamer which she had sunk and then, made off and submerged.
The incident took place last evening off Ventry, a hamlet overlooking a mall bay near Dingle, 31 miles from Tralee. This is close to the spot where Sir Roger Casement, the Irish Rebel, was landed from a German submarine in a collapsible boat in 1916. The 28 members of the crew of the Greek the vessel, the ‘Diamantes’, 4990 tons, were put off in a collapsible boat belonging to the submarine.
Civic Guards, patrolling the coast, saw the submarine on the surface and hastened to the spot, but they were too late to make any attempt to detain her. While they were still some distance away the submarine stood off and submerged.
After being looked after at Dingle the crew of the ‘Diamantes’, six of whom were suffering from shock, arrived here this evening. They later left for Holyhead.
Captain Panagos, the master of the Greek steamer, described the events as follows;
“When we were about 40 miles off Land’s End on Tuesday the U-boat came to the surface about 1.30pm. The commander hailed us and we stopped. He then told us he was going to sink the ‘Diamantis’. He did not ask for our paper.
“He ordered us to abandon ship, but when he saw that the sea was so rough that our small boats could not possibly live in it he took us aboard the submarine. Four of us were taken across at a time, this necessitating seven trips as there were 28 of us. We were not allowed to take our lodgings. When we got aboard the submarine three of four torpedoes were fired at our vessel and she sank in about 20 minutes.
“Many of the members of my crew were able to sleep a little although all the time we were wishing that we were of out of the submarine. The captain of the submarine spoke in English and I was able to talk to him for short periods when he was off duty.
“When we had been on board for about 34 hours we came to the surface off the Irish coast at about 5.30 yesterday evening. A collapsible boat was lowered and again seven trips were made tot he shore. The submarine remained about 50 yards off the shore, which appeared to be deserted. Immediately the submarine had taken the boat aboard she submerged and that was the last we saw of her.
“The crew waved goodbye to us. We were taken charge of by the local policeman and the local people looked after us very well.”
The captain said that the commander of the submarine who appeared to be about 30, had treated them with the greatest courtesy. The crew of the submarine numbered 34.