17 November 1917: German U-boat crew captured off Ireland

On 17 November 1917 at 4.10 p.m. German submarine U.58 was preparing to attack a convoy off the Irish coast which was being escorted by two American destroyers, USS Fanning and USS Nicholson. A look-out on board USS Fanning had momentarily sighted about a foot of the U-boat’s periscope sticking out of the water. The submarine sustained initial damage from a depth-charge dropped by USS Fanning. A second depth-charge forced the vessel to surface. The American vessels opened fire. The submarine surrendered after the third shot. All of the crew were rescued apart from one. Two American sailors dived into the water in an attempt to rescue him, but it was too late.

The crew were sent to various camps. Second Lieutenant Friedrich Müller was sent to Skipton on 7 March 1918.

The German Government protested. They said that according to the Hague Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war, the prisoners should be placed in American custody. Accordingly Müller was released from Skipton on 9 April 1918 and sent to America on USS Leviathan, a former passenger liner.

The crew were sent to Fort McPherson in Georgia. The photograph shows the crew on arrival at the camp. It is not known which of the officers is Müller.