Am Baile/Mark Butterworth - Priscus

Location: Mull and Iona
ww1 and ww2, ships and boats

German Submarine Sunk at Staffa

"My father was ploughing at the time, it was a sunny day, when these two Lancasters came over very low, and the horses went haywire, jumping and bucking all over the place, so he had to unhitch them from the plough, and by the time we got them in the stable you could cream the foam off their backs in great scoops, they were so scared.

"Anyway, we heard a double thudding, and very quickly, the Lancasters came back. You see, they had found a submarine on the surface off Staffa. The fleet was in Loch Na Keal. It’s deep all the way up. And someone told me this, I don’t know if it's true: that at Fingal’s Cave shortly after, there, carved at the very back, were the initials of submariners, dated that very day. You see they had surfaced to see Fingal’s cave, and carved their names, and been drowned.

"Where’s the wreck? No one knows. They may have got a little way before they sunk. And do you know what? Our sailors, they used to help us get in the stooks (a group of sheaves of grain stood on end in a field): they’d just be walking by, and they’d come and touch their bonnets and say: want a hand? And suddenly the field would be bare, and all the sheaves inside. Anyway, that night one of the officers came, very panicky, and asked if we’d seen his spaniel, because they’d been shooting that day and his spaniel hadn’t come down. And we had it, and he was so pleased, and it leapt all over him, licking his face. And do you know what? Well, in the morning, there wasn’t a ship on Loch Na Keal. Not a ship. Destroyers, Frigates, Warships: all gone. You see, the officer, he knew he was sailing that night, and that’s why he was so afraid the dog had not come back."

Rosemary Nicholson, in conversation with Roc Sandford, from his book ‘Gometra: a history

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