View Full Version : U 65 ghost story

08-29-2005, 04:39 PM
The World War One U-boat U-65 was said to have had an interesting reputation.....

"Submariners aboard the U-Boat 65 were as terrified of ghosts on their vessle as they were of Allied attacks.
Almost two years into the Great War, the battlefields of France and Belgium were literally running red with blood. Hundreds of thousands of young men were dying, an entire generation consigned to the mud and mayhem of trench warfare along the Western Front. The conflagration was so evenly matched that victories were measured in mere yards.
Neither side could muster the reserves for that one decisive thrust to punch through the other's defenses, and the war developed into a grotesque stalemate - except that in this case, the pawns were the young men of England, Germany and France.

The only breakthrough in the war, it seemed, might come at sea where, by the summer of 1916, the Kaiser's navy, led by the wolf packs of U-boat submarines, was beginning to take a heavy toll on British shipping. Hundreds of thousands of tons were consigned to the bottom of the seas by the fast-moving U-boats. Particularly hard hit was the British merchant fleet, which carried supplies vital to the war effort in Europe.

The Kaiser and his navy warlords were convinced that this was the way to break the back of the British bulldog and so, with the war two years old, Germany was devoting much of its total war effort to producing more and more submarines to press the attack. That year, among the many U-boats which came down the assembly line ready for British blood was UB65, which would go down in naval lore as the host to at least one ghost, and the scene of many disturbing and tragic occurrences. Indeed, UB65 became so infamous, that even as the war raged on, its panic-stricken crew grew increasingly reluctant to sail on her.

Even before she was launched, the `Iron Coffin' as she became known, seemed to attract disaster. She was built to join a fleet of submarines prowling off the Flemish coastline, gorging on the slow, heavily laden ships crossing back and forward across the English Channel. But it seemed that everything that could go wrong during construction, did.


Not even seven days into her construction, as the hull was being laid, the first tragedy struck. As workers poured over the site, a giant girder hovering overhead on chains suddenly broke free, plunging into the hull. A hapless worker was horribly crushed under its massive weight, and lay there, in agony, for over an hour while frantic mates tried to rescue him. Tragically, he died just as the huge weight was finally lifted off him. An inquiry into the accident found there had been no faults in the chains used to hoist the girder, and officials were mystified as to what could have caused it to snap free. Less than two months later, there was a second, more alarming tragedy. Three engineers who were assigned to the U-boats engine room to test the submarine's dry cell batteries, were overcome by deadly chloride fumes. They died before anyone could rescue them and drag them into the fresh air. No-one ever determined why the batteries ever leaked the toxic fumes.
Thankfully, there were no more mysterious incidents during the remaining construction and shortly afterwards UB65 set sail for sea trials. But whatever dogged the boat seemed to follow it out of port because it quickly ran into a fierce Channel storm, and one hapless sailor was washed overboard to his death when the vessel came up to test her stability on the surface during rough seas.

After the man went overboard, the captain ordered the U-boat to dive. As she did, a ballast tank sprang a leak, flooding the dry-cell batteries in sea water and filling the engine room with the same deadly gas that had already claimed three lives while the boat was still on the slipway. After 12 nerve-racking hours the crew final managed to get the ship to surface, where they flung open the hatches and breathed clean air. Amazingly, no-one was killed and the bedevilled craft limped back to Germany for repairs.

After several days, the U-boat was again readied for sea and her first on-line patrol. But as a battery of torpedoes was being placed on board, a warhead suddenly exploded, killing the second officer and badly wounding several others. Yet again, an inquiry was conducted, but no explanation for the explosion was ever found. In the meantime, the second officer was buried, and another round of repairs made to the jinxed vessel. Her jittery crew, already worried about the U-boat's growing reputation for being accursed, were given a few days' much-needed shore leave to calm their shattered nerves before setting out on their first active patrol.


The U-Bot 65 ws forced to limp back to harbour after another mysterious disaster. The submarine was bedevilled by tragedy and death.
Yet just moments before she was set to leave port, another bizarre incident occurred - this time, a panicked sailor swore he had seen the apparition of the dead second officer. "Herr Kapitan!" he blurted. "The dead officer is on board!" The captain, of course, refused to take the report seriously, believing the sailor had had too much to drink during his shore leave. However, even the stoic skipper was a little taken aback when a second member of his crew also claimed to have seen the ghost of the second officer coming casually up the gangplank! The seaman was sobbing from fear when he told the captain that the apparition had walked aboard, strolled up to the bow, then looked out at the inviting sea. He then vanished into thin air.
That two crew members had reported seeing the dead officer gave the captain some reason for pause, but nevertheless he knew his duty lay at sea and in sinking British ships. UB65 had some early successes on its maiden voyage, sinking three Allied merchant ships in quick succession. However, the rumors of the unwanted ghost had spread through the crew like wildfire, and their celebration over any direct hits was tempered by their belief that their vessel was haunted.


Indeed, there was almost full-scale panic after UB65 recorded its second kill, when startled sailors in the engine room saw the dead officer observing the instrument panel as he had done in the trial voyage. By the time the submarine returned to base, rumors of its ghostly visitor were already spreading throughout the entire U-boat armada. The captain did his best to dispel the talk, claiming it was all poppycock, fearing that the ghost tales would only further erode the morale of the 34-man crew. But in their hearts, the men of UB65 knew something was terribly amiss with their craft.
Then in January, 1918 as the war dragged ever closer to its inevitable conclusion, even the captain could no longer dismiss the sightings as the rantings of some foolhardy seamen - for he, too, saw the apparition! It came as the U-boat was prowling in the Channel off Portland Bill. Because the weather was so foul and the seas extremely rough, the captain ordered the craft to surface. After breaking the surface, a lookout stationed on the starboard side was scanning the stormy horizon. He turned to look to port, when suddenly he spotted an officer standing on the deck, which heaved under the growing fury of the waves. At firs, the crew man thought the officer foolhardy for taking such a risk, but then realised that all the hatches were still battened down. bar the one from which he himself had climbed onto the deck. He knew no-one could have come up through there without him immediately spotting him.


Suddenly, the crew man got a full look at the officer - and his face went white as the blood drained from it. There standing in front of him was the second officer, who had been buried with full honours back at home base. When he finally summoned the courage to move, the terrified seaman screamed to his shipmates that the ghost was on the boat. Below deck, the crew were close to all-out panic, and the captain had to act immediately lest a hysterical sailor put all their lives in jeopardy. He raced up the ladder, fully expecting to see nothing save a panicked crew man, when he, too, saw his dead comrade, his face a grotesque distortion. Seconds later, the ghost vanished, as if blown into the raging swell by the strong winds.
By the time the U-boat returned to port, navy authorities were already waiting. They were determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, fearing that the morale of the crew was so low that another disaster was just waiting to happen. With intense secrecy, each and every man assigned to UB65 was interviewed by a panel of high-ranking officers.

The reader must remember that U-boat crews were among the most reliable and hardiest in the navy. They were subjected to long periods of confinement deep below the ocean surface, and had to withstand hours of nerve-racking pursuit by Allied destroyers. It was a fact that a submariner had only a 50-50 chance of ever returning from his mission, and that on a man-for-man basis, the U-boat force suffered the highest casualties of the war. So when these brave, innately fearless men, told navy officials that they were terrified of returning to their craft because of ghosts, then their story could not simply be dismissed as irrational rantings. And it wasn't. Although the Kaiser's sea lords could never admit to having a haunted ship - one could imagine the widespread effect on morale that would have on their other crews - they found the stories about the ghost of the dead second officer too convincing to simply laugh off or dismiss as the talk of overwrought sailors. Instead, they decided to break up the crew of UB65, sending some to other submarines and others to destroyers.

But that still left the problem of what to do with the vessel itself. Eventually, the U-boat was decommissioned at the port of Bruges, in Belgium, and a Lutheran pastor was asked to perform the ancient Christian rite of exorcism! In surely what must be one of the most incredible wartime scenes ever, a Belgian civilian was taken on board while German officers watched with a mixture of fascination and dread. Once the exorcism was completed, everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
A new crew and captain were assigned to the `cleansed' ship, and it was business as usual for the next few weeks. The new skipper, a stern disciplinarian who scoffed at the stories of dead men walking the ship, warned his crew that he would not tolerate any renewed tales of ghosts or goblins. For the next two missions, it appeared as if everything was back to normal. There had been no sightings and no inexplicable accidents. But in May 1918, the ghost appeared again.

During the long voyage, in which UB65 was ordered to patrol the sea lanes off the Spanish coast as well as the English Channel, the dead officer was seen no fewer than three times. One of those who saw the ghost was the petty officer, who swore to God that he saw the man walk though a solid iron bulkhead and pass into the engine room! Another man, a torpedo handler, claimed the ghost visited him several times at night. The terrified soul became so disoriented that when the submarine surfaced to recharge its batteries, he leaped off the deck to his death in the seas.

On its final voyage - during July 1918, just four months before the Armistice was signed and peace returned to a ravaged Europe - the UB65 was spotted by an American submarine resting like a sitting duck on the surface. No one knows why. It was 10 July. The American sailors, who couldn't believe their good fortune, quickly armed their torpedoes and prepared to fire. But just before they did, the U-65 suddenly exploded, sending the remains of metal and men spewing out over a wide range of ocean.

Within seconds, all that remained of the submarine and her crew was a heavy oil slick and scattered debris. No-one aboard the American submarine ever gave the order to fire, and the crew swears no-one launched a torpedo. What happened? To this day, no-one knows. But it seemed a fitting, if bloody, end to the story of the haunted ship, which took its most enigmatic secret with it to its watery grave."

A nice read, isn't it ? ;)
( found here (http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=56655&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=boat) )

08-29-2005, 04:50 PM
Nice found, i was not familiar with this story yet.
although i'm a bit confused, shouldn't this be about UB-65 and not U-65?
cos i saw some guys on that forum talking about this too.

I see you have some really deep love for WW1 u-boats. :up:

08-29-2005, 07:16 PM
According to uboat.net it expladed from a torpedo explding inside the sub

09-08-2005, 05:16 PM
Interesting read, though who is to draw the line between bad luck and ghosts?

Anyways what I'm curious about is what made the german torpedo's so unstable in the first place?

03-22-2006, 06:09 PM
Sounds like a script Hollywood hasn't gotten its hands on yet but heck it would make a good story. One problem is that Hollywood tends to make the ghosts 'the enemy' but it would be nice if it was written that the ghost would just freak them out so that THEY (the crew) would start going nuts.

But they'll probably rename it so it'll be interesting, UB-13 or U-666 or something.

Really interesting stuff.

Many thanks for posting,

03-22-2006, 06:16 PM
it begs the question, though. Why the second officer? Aside from the fact that he was KIA apparently and buried with full military honors. Why not a sailor or a dock workman? Did they do something to him while he was alive that caused him to come back and haunt them (shades of the movie MASTER AND COMMANDER with that wimpy midshipman who kills himself) or was it all psychological - like the emperor's new clothes, when one person points and says he sees things other people can see them as well!


09-04-2006, 03:45 PM
Maybe being a 2nd officer, there was a higher sense of duty compaired to your avergae sailor. Just a thought. Very interesting find. If I was serving on that ship, I think I would feel actually better that the ghost was around checking stuff out. Maybe that officer was looking after the crew, but the crew made too much out of it and caused their own problems.

09-04-2006, 09:49 PM
Sounds like a script Hollywood hasn't gotten its hands
Better not hollywood or we would get another U551(or U557 ? or what the number was ?)


09-04-2006, 09:53 PM
it begs the question, though. Why the second officer?

We will never find this out(assuming the story is true). I'm woundering from whitch sources the auther got this story.


09-04-2006, 09:56 PM
Maybe being a 2nd officer, there was a higher sense of duty compaired to your avergae sailor. Just a thought. Very interesting find. If I was serving on that ship, I think I would feel actually better that the ghost was around checking stuff out. Maybe that officer was looking after the crew, but the crew made too much out of it and caused their own problems.
Or he "waited" for them what would be a very bad sign. Especialy given all the missfortune this boat had so far.(assuming the story is realy true)


09-06-2006, 05:22 PM
There is alss another interesting history about a german Ghost submarine of WW1, though it has nothing to do with "ghosts", but instead with a mysterious U-Boot that seemed to sail alone, surfaced, and that nor british or germans dared to attack....I'll see to find some time to write it down in english, I must copy & translate fron an old book I have about derelicts. Very interesting read though probably out of print today...:rock:

09-07-2006, 02:57 AM
Oh, realy ? Is there another ghost story ? Post it! :up:

Hey Hitman, a new update ?


09-14-2006, 01:06 PM
where is that ghost story?

09-14-2006, 01:29 PM
What do you mean with where ?

09-14-2006, 03:57 PM
Ah, you surely talk to Hitman ?

09-15-2006, 07:58 PM
Yeah, he said he was going to post another story, but he didn't. I have this page bookmarked waiting for it.

09-15-2006, 10:21 PM
Yeah i'm waiting too lol

Hitman where is it ?


09-19-2006, 01:31 PM
Ooops sorry to have caused some anxiety...this is one of those topics you answer and then somehow forget you did post anything :p

The story is in a book I did re-read this last summer while on holidays, and I have no access to the book right now (I go on holidays to a house my family has in the mountains of Alicante, but live in Tarragona the rest of the year. That's 350 km away :damn: ). I can't remember the author, but he was a french. The book narrates very interesting historys about sunk and/or abandoned ships, converted in derelicts that cause lots of accidents in the seas, and also tells some interesting historys of vanished ships. The history about that WW1 german U-Boot was in that book, but until I get the book I will not be able to write it here. I'll see to ask my mother to bring the book if she comes to visit in the next weeks....sorry guys.:hmm:

09-23-2006, 11:20 PM
Here's another 2 interesting stories:



12-05-2006, 01:40 PM

Here is a neat one!

12-05-2006, 05:44 PM

Here is a neat one!
What the..?


What is this supposed to be ? A game ?

12-06-2006, 10:38 AM
yeah, I think so as it talks about hit points like Dungeons and Dragons.

12-07-2006, 07:33 AM
Hey haven't you posted this already somewhere or did i dreamed it ?


01-02-2007, 06:24 AM
Spooky :o

01-03-2007, 03:33 PM
:hmm: Ghosts baaa humbug...

Deamons on the other hand ,that would work.

I love the ending though...:up:

Good story.

01-03-2007, 04:37 PM
I'm just woundering where the author have this story from. I never heared of an torpedo shore accident in the case of UB 65. From which book did it came from at all, who is the author ?


04-06-2008, 06:05 AM
The story about the UB65's sinking above is a case of mistaken identity - the actual boat has been discovered and identified by numbers on the props in the Bristol Channel. Lack of explosive damage to the remarkably intact hull of the craft and reports from records of the "Flanders Flottilla" of the German Navy, leads MOD experts to believe she sank due to accidental flooding.

These results were shown on UK television show called "Underwater Detectives"

Jacky Fisher
04-29-2008, 09:48 PM
sailors are notoriously supersitious...

I wouldn't be surprised if the area where HMS Aboukir, HMS Cressy, and HMS Hogue is haunted. Most sailors lost were cadets from RNC Dartmouth:cry:

That, and what did happened to USS Cyclops?

04-30-2008, 05:57 PM
Hey, Lord Fisher himself! How you doing man ? How is it going lately ? sailors are notoriously supersitious... Yeah, but why ? But not all are, but become after certain experiences. I myself would like to think this is all nonsense but reading all the u-boat accounts recently, friday the 13th seem to be the most favoured, give me always to think. The misfortune when departing on friday the 13th appears remarkable and treacherous in this stories and just makes you think. I hear it mentioned in almost every account. Almost every account has its friday the 13th story to tell. For us land rats it is easy to shake our head while being not subjected to die below the waves. In what not all, the people start to believe in when much larger forces than yours put your life on bet and you can't do anything about it. There are no atheists in the trench, you know ?

08-20-2008, 03:42 AM
Then of course there's the old tale of British Admiral Tryon appearing among the party guests at his house in London where his wife was hosting a party, even as his flagship the HMS Victoria was slipping beneath the waves of the Mediterranean...



Happy Halloween Lads,

10-04-2008, 11:06 PM

Task Force
10-04-2008, 11:22 PM
Great topic for October.:D I love goast storys, the one about U 65 is quite good.:yep:

Task Force
10-04-2008, 11:55 PM

Here is a neat one!

U 2666 was cancled before it was built. according to uboat.net.;)

08-31-2011, 12:24 AM
Better not hollywood or we would get another U551(or U557 ? or what the number was ?)

U-571 I think

09-12-2011, 09:12 AM
U-571 I think

You do know that Deamon posted that five years ago? :DL

09-23-2011, 09:29 PM
You do know that Deamon posted that five years ago? :DL

Otto Fuhrmann
03-28-2013, 09:50 PM
I know this is rather old, but I still enjoyed reading it!

Admiral Halsey
12-01-2013, 01:26 PM
Just now noticed this thread and have finished reading it.

12-01-2013, 07:09 PM
I know this is rather old, but I still enjoyed reading it!
Hi guys, everything is rather old here but you can find some good stuff here. :D

12-01-2013, 07:58 PM
Hey, we resurrect Zombies, why not u-ghosts too!:up:

Admiral Halsey
12-01-2013, 11:26 PM
It's a darn shame this part of the forum doesn't get more attention. Maybe when IABL's mod for SH4 becomes available it will see more activity.

12-02-2013, 08:31 AM
It's a darn shame this part of the forum doesn't get more attention. Maybe when IABL's mod for SH4 becomes available it will see more activity.

Totally agree.

12-02-2013, 09:44 PM
Hey, we resurrect Zombies, why not u-ghosts too!:up:

I like something like this! So, I agree!:Kaleun_Periskop:



Nicw one:

11-13-2014, 08:22 AM
I agree with the Captain ... poppycock!!

There never has been nor will there ever be ghost in this world. After the trillions who have died over thousands of years and at the age of 52 I would have seen one by now.

They do not exist.

Like religion, ghost are a childish superstition.