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Date: 1 January 1919


You must see the U-boat at the North Dock Basin, Swansea. For submarines are fearfully and wonderfully made, and it is a real education to go through the bowels of this harpy of commerce—now caged and for ever rendered useless against our merchantmen.

The formal opening ceremony was performed on Tuesday by the Mayor, in the presence of a representative gathering. First Mr. Miles inspected a contingent of the men of the naval base, and a fine smart body they were.

Then medals were presented, in both of which Swansea had a peculiar interest, for the naval D.S.M. went to one of the men of the local patrol and the Military Medal to one of the heroes of the Swansea Battalion, who had already won the. D.C.M. These deeds were described yesterday.

The speeches were of no little interest, for there were references by Commander Powley to the trawler men who have swept our seas during these years. We would all have liked more from the distinguished officer, for he could tell us many thrilling tales of the heroism of men recruited at a moment's notice from the mercantile marine, and could give not a few details, an' he would, of the adventures of "these good lads in downing these chaps these chaps" being the U. boats. of which a specimen lay at the quayside.

It was a case of all aboard when the speeches were done. If all of us who were waiting had rushed the gangways, the weight would have been enough to submerge UB 91 in a manner she was not built for. But the crew, aided by the I police, saw to that Ten fit a time was the rule, and in tens we went aboard. There were civic dignitaries, pushful docksmen, leading local lights. Tommy l and Jack, Colonial soldiers, and American soldiers, Waacs and their officers, and that nondescript vanity of humanity that pays taxes, usually described as the general public."

We found we had to board the funny little craft forward, and disembark astern. There was good reason for that, because there isn't room to turn about in the narrow chambers of a U boat. The "hatchways" or companion ways, call them what you like, are about the sire of the manholes we see in our street, and down these one went, via stool ladders. One wondered at one's neighbours agility -and one's own.

But first for the deck. The six-inch gun was a rakish looking thing, and well handled would capable of doing quite a lot of mischief. The conning tower (which we were not permitted to enter) is suggestive at all kinds of creepy mysteries. Above it floated the British naval ensign, but a little below, for the first time in Swansea, the German ensign. But Fritz's flag was not ambitious to be seen. Perhaps it reflected the ignominious end of the Kiel Canal fleet, for it curled itself around its rope modestly enough.

What is below? It would he difficult to describe a quarter of it, and even if we could we should destroy the surprise that awaits you—For you are sure to go aboard and see for yourself. But if you have any idea that all the teeth of the UB 91 have been drawn, pray disabuse your mind at once. There are still torpedoes in two of the fine tubes, just as they were when took the craft. The mechanism is complete, as may be gathered from the fact that the craft came to Swansea from Cardiff under her own power. The periscopes are in full working 'order, and clown below, in the observation room, you can see for yourself how the Hun spotted our harmless merchant men at sea, What time the U boat lay below the surface of the water.

Skilled submarine men will tell you all there is to know, and it is very gratifying to know that in all respects, save one—that of reversible engines—we were quite as up-to-date as Fritz in the matter of tin fish construction.

But go aboard arid see for yourself. The charge is a modest sixpence, and that will go to naval charities.

There are tales that could be told about this U boat, but as she did not operate very much in our waters they do not matter very much. One channel trader, however. was put down her-a Russian craft on charter to Messrs. Stone and Rolfe.

'The U-Boat: More about Swansea's Strange Visitor.' The Cambria Daily Leader. 1 Jan. 1919. 3.

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