U-249 SURRENDER DOCUMENT - THE FIRST U-BOAT TO SURRENDER AT THE END OF WORLD WAR II
A most historic document, the first official document evidencing the surrender of the first German U-boat to capitulate at the conclusion of World War II, signed by the vessel's captain and by its Royal Navy captor. On May 9, 1945, following orders transmitted by Grossadmiral and German Reichspresident Karl Donitz, U-249 surfaced off Weymouth, Dorset and signaled its surrender to a PB4Y-1 Liberator aircraft of the Fleet Air Wing of the U.S. Navy based at Dunkeswell, Devon. The following day the vessel, with a prize crew aboard, berthed at Portland where commanding officer Oberleutnant Uwe Kock officially surrendered the ship. Offered here is Kock's copy of the surrender of his ship (numbered "2"), 6 1/2" x 8 1/4", Portland, May 10, 1945. In the document headed: "SURRENDER OF GERMAN SUBMARINE", Kock declares: "I HEREBY SURRENDER THE GERMAN SUBMARINE NUMBER U-249 UNCONDITIONALLY TO THE ROYAL NAVY" and signs and dates the document. Beneath, Rear Admiral N. J. Weir signs accepting the surrender on behalf of the Royal Navy. Interestingly, this surrender document was obviously hastily prepared: it was typed on the verso of a totally unrelated blank armed forces "Reinstatement in Civil Employment Act, 1944" form! Very good condition. Impossibly rare and important, the only such document we have ever encountered. Originates from the estate of Royal Navy AB Kenneth Rilett who was detailed by Admiral Weir to assist in the surrender and in escorting the arrested U-249 crewmen to an internment camp. Rilett then apparently returned to the submarine for salvage duty...and souvenir hunting. At some point in time, probably while tied-up alongside, Rilett was able to relieve Capt. Kock of his sea chest which contained this surrender document, as well as Kock's naval dagger, Iron Cross, and other possessions. Copies of Rilett's orders to attend the vessel's prisoners, his note concerning the dagger, and an Admiralty envelope addressed to Rilett sent by an Admiralty salvage officer in Bath, near Portland, date unknown are included. Interestingly, on March 24, 1945, the vessel was attacked by RAF Mosquitos, with several crew wounded and one fighter shot down. Kock rescued the downed RAF pilot, Lt. Williams, and left him a prisoner at Bergen where it appears he was executed. Kock would also meet an unhappy end, dying in 1965 at the age of 54 from alcoholism. Provenance: R.N. Seaman Kenneth Rilett; The War Museum. A printed color certificate of provenance and historical report with 20 photos of the sub's history, service and surrender will accompany this lot.