14 October 2009
by Marian O'Flaherty
Cumann Staire Fionn Trá (Ventry Historical Society) hosted a special commemoration last weekend of the landing of the German submarine (U-35) and the crew of a Greek freighter west of Dingle at Ventry Harbour on October 4th, 1939. Beginning at 3pm on the Green in Ventry, his Excellency, the German Ambassador, Dr. Busso von Alvensleben unveiled a memorial to the landing of 28 Greek sailors, rescued by U-35 after it had sunk their vessel, Diamantis, off the coast of Cornwall on 3rd October 1939. A reception was hosted afterwards in nearby Quinn’s pub followed at 4.30pm by a visit to an exhibition of documents and memorabilia from the early period of the war in 1939-40, in Áras Chaitlíona, Ventry. Most of the documents in the exhibition had not been viewed publically before. Amongst them were contemporary accounts of U-35/Diamantis in the Irish and foreign media; secret reports on activities along the coast in the Irish Military Archives; the correspondence of the German ambassador, Eduard Hempel, with the German Foreign Office; a letter from Earl Mountbatten to U-35 captain, Werner Lott, on the occasion of the latter’s 70th birthday and the latter’s reply. Information on the background of the captain of the Diamantis, Panagos Pateras of the island of Chios and on the maritime tradition of his family were also unveiled as were records of the Greek sailors in Dingle hospital; a genuine example of the uniform worn by the crew of U-35 and photographs of British and German aircraft which crashed in this district during the war.