Enemies’ respect for each other discovered

GERMAN Fritz Boie

GERMAN Fritz Boie

Kevin Relf, in white, has been training former apprentices, from left, Sam Young, Sam McFarlane and Ed Poole-McKenzie in the art of laminating 	           PICTURE Phil Stanton for BAE

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A PERSONAL collection of photographs from a First World War navy submarine commander has revealed his respect for a German submariner he almost killed.

Lieutenant Commander Samuel Gravener’s photo album has recently been acquired by staff at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport.

And among his collection curators discovered a photograph of a German submariner called Fritz Boie and his family – the same submariner he once fired a torpedo at.

On April 29 1917, Lt Cdr Gravener was commanding officer of HMS E2 and had fired a torpedo at a German submarine, the UC37.

The torpedo failed to detonate, sparing the German boat, which had been aiming at a Italian sailing ship off Marsala, Sicily.

The German officer of the watch that day was Fritz Boie.

In a weird twist, Fritz tracked down Lt Cdr Gravener 14 years later, sending him a letter ending: ‘So I send you now my kindest regards, hoping you are still alive and well off.’

What followed was an exchange of letters and photographs by the once sworn enemies.

The museum in Haslar Road, Gosport, has the personal album, along with copies of the original letter and photographs from Fritz.

The photo album will be on temporary display for the next few months.

It will also be used in the museum’s photographic archive.

Bob Mealings, curator at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum said: ‘This is a wonderful discovery of opposing sides uniting through their submariner experiences.’

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