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The Altmark Incident



In February 1940, the German tanker Altmark was returning to Nazi Germany with 299 captured British merchant sailors on board. The sailors had been picked up from ships sunk by the Graf Spee. On its way to Nazi Germany, the Altmark exploited neutral Norwegian waters.

Officers from Norwegian vessels boarded the Altmark three times, but they conducted only cursory searches, taking the Germans' word that the vessel was on commercial business. In the hold, the prisoners were shouting and banging on the sides of the hull, but the Norwegians did not look below, and the Germans ran winches to cover the tumult. The Altmark was allowed to proceed.

But someone had passed the word to the Royal Navy. Captained by Philip Vian, HMS Cossack pursued the Altmark into J?ssingfjord. Norwegian naval forces tried to intervene then stood down.

Two hours before midnight on February 16th, a boarding party leaped on board the Altmark with bayonets. After hand-to-hand fighting they overwhelmed the ship's crew and German officers.

Down below in the hold, the British prisoners heard the shout, "Any Englishmen here?"

They shouted back, and heard, "Well, the Navy's here."

Resounding cheers.

Comments (4)

A betts:

A comparison of this brave action with that of the U.K.Government's response to the Iranian apprehension of Royal Navy personnel in the Gulf several years' ago shows clearly the moral decline of a previously honorouble country!


"shows clearly the moral decline of a previously honorouble country!"

Consider the reasons for moral decline.

They are fascinating because they include not only self-indulgence across society but the government's deliberate attacks on morality and the family; deliberate misinformation; deliberate rejection of timeless educational principles; deliberate efforts to reduce individual excellence and independence; deliberate treason. . .

Consider, too, those who resist these attacks.

A Betts:

When a government legislates conformity of thought it is already on a dangerous path to intolerance & totaliterianism.

The imposition of political correctness in the U.K. is no less dictatorial & will be no less tyrannical than that of other extremist (it-is-for-your-own-good, must-be-done-at-all-costs) political dogmas.

Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein etc. all promoted their individual brand of political correctness – woe betide those who are non-conformists, non-adherents & or dissidents to the doctrine of pc!

Coersive enforcement (used by shallow intolerant people), by its very nature, is no substitute for an ingrained sense of decency, reciprocated tolerance, freedom of thought & expression & self-determination. It was for these ideals, not pc, that in the 20th century millions of Britons & their overseas allies fought & died to preserve.

Hugh Reason:

I was born in England in 1950, my father was in the RAF serving in Alexandria during world war two along with two brothers, my mother was from Wales, her father was a coal miner. So I believe I have good reason to be proud of my British ancestry, however having seen both my parents work hard all their life, at the end working in their own business and neither living long enough to enjoy retirement together, I started to wonder about the Great Britain I had spent the formative years of my life in.

I was old enough to take part in the referendum on joining the EEC and my own doubts about the possible eventual outcome of a YES vote led me to vote against this proposal, as did a lot of my friends and my parents.

Following our acceptance in to the EEC (having to be accepted made my blood boil then and still does, the British had never gone cap in hand to any country in Europe and only the fight against Hitler's Germany and its sycophantic allies led to us becoming indebted to the USA, who as history proves economically benefited far above any other loss they suffered) there was a general decline in the beliefs, strengths and pride in the country of my birth.

A gradual slide towards mediocrity an acceptance of working towards being part of the lowest common denominator, led me in the early 80's to make a decision that led to a change in my outlook, also to a growing admiration of a country that encourages its population to excel in all fields of endeavour, a country that has pride, that pulls together in adversity as one nation, (Note the current tragic bush fires in Victoria - in less than one week 100 million dollars donated). That decision was to holiday and visit relatives in Australia. Following further visits and returning to the England that I recognised less and less culminated in my wife and I emigrating in 1993.

Since then I have had visits from friends and relatives who without exception all bemoan the changes in Britain, a country that they see losing its national identity, its pride and its traditional beliefs. Since emigrating I have not returned and feel no ties to draw me back, there is a sense of sorrow for the country I remember from childhood to my early working life but that diminishes by the day. I feel lucky now to be a citizen of Australia, to be an Australian and part of what this country stands for. Yes we have our dissenters our misfits and a sprinkling of what are known out here as mongrels, but in general the average ozzie is a person to feel proud to be. Unfortunately I no longer feel that about my country of birth, "even when I get called a Pommie B-----d".

I still maintain the strength of my heritage, the things I learned from my parents and many others of their generation from all walks of life, humble people with strong beliefs of what was right and wrong. People who had seen and experienced the worst humanity has to offer and persevered to be part of a better country than many others, a fair country, free to choose its part in the world, a country proud of its GREAT HISTORY, proud to be a Democratic Monarchy, respecting our laws and those of GOD and his disciples. ...................

What has happened, where did it start to go wrong ? I do not profess to have the complete answer, any answer all I feel is sad for those still living in Britain who hold dear to the things that have been lost.

Hugh Reason

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