German U-boat In St. Lawrence River? Solving the mystery of the Wahl Anchor
A Clayton, NY marina owner Wilbert Wahl says in 1942 at age 10 he watched American fighter aircraft sink a German U-boat in the St.Lawrence near Wolfe Island, just off Cape Vincent, about 20 km across from Kingston, On. During the 1960’s an area scuba diver in the area, Skip Couch, was told the story of this sunken U-boat and investigated the area.
Diving off Carleton Island near Cape Vincent, Couch retrieved an anchor, which is now on display at Wahl’s marina in Clayton, NY. This anchor has a very unusual and mysterious swastika marking on the fluke of the anchor, very similar to the swastika used by the Nazis during World War 2.
Did a German U-boat make its way down the St. Lawrence River to Wolfe Island before being sunk and now lies at the bottom of the river? With U-boats regularly patrolling the St. Lawrence River during WW2, they were spotted as far down as Quebec City, but none further than that…unless one made it it further south somehow.
During the late 1800’s a British foundry, Byers, in Sunderland, England, made anchors. Turns out they had a very unusual corporate logo…
W.L. Byers, the owner, was fascinated by the ancient discoveries in Troy, which included pottery found with the ancient swastika symbol on them…Byers made that his company symbol, and it was put on all the anchors his company produced from the late 1800’s until the 1920’s. Here is his anchor catalogue from the early 1900’s:
Byers anchors from Sunderland used the swastika symbol on their anchors until the German Nazi Party made it their symbol in the 1920’s…and here is a Byers anchor clearly showing the Byers swastika marking:
…which is an almost identical looking anchor to what Wahl’s recovered “U-boat” Wolfe Island anchor.
Mystery solved…the Wahl Anchor is most likely an anchor recovered from an early 1900’s shipwreck that used a Byers forged anchor that sunk off Cape Vincent, later found by Skip Couch in the 1960’s.
So it looks like the U-boat story is merely an urban legend, although it does make for a good story around the campfire….
HOWEVER, it looks like a German U-boat actually did go down the St. Lawrence River past Kingston AFTER the war…Captured by the US during the war, German U-boat U-505 was towed down the St. Lawrence past Kingston, thru the Great Lakes to a museum in Chicago in 1954.
U-505 still resides in The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry where it is currently on display.
Wikipedia : U-505
Anchors: An Illustrated History By Betty Nelson Curryer http://books.google.ca/books?id=MigKLVemmvEC&pg=PA124&lpg=PA124&dq=byers+anchors+swastika&source=bl&ots=-RwlJrPQkf&sig=N2Py_S0Xzsqol1emznjlq8uP48w&hl=en&sa=X&ei=b4HMUtH9F9OxsASCqYDQDg&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=byers%20anchors%20swastika&f=false
I understood that a attempt was made by a German U boat But was never able to pass thru the Cornwall Ont.canel. it was spotted in Lake staint francis, at cornwall ont. if it tryed to follow a ship in the canel it wouldn’t have been deep enough to avoid being spotted.
I find it hard to believe that a German U-boat could make it past the rapids of Montreal or through the canal without detection…but it makes for a good story!
Jus below mallorytwon Lnading a cinder block duckblind sit on a long.low rock. This resembles a sub and many a tale has abeen told.
There is a similar anchor with swastika at Pointe de Cascades Quebec. Thanks for the research on the Byers Anchor and swastika. Solved a mystery
Glad to have you along…thanks for reading.
this is wilburt wahl who saw the bombing in may of 1942 the planes that did the bombing came from kingston canada there is a record of this in trenton air force base in kingston this went on till10 oclock at night the sub had been to toronto and fired 2 torpedos by the welland canal hoping to stop the flow of iron ore thru the great lakes the sub fired 2 torpedos one of which hit a frieghter the other blew up harmlesy on shore this set off a manhunt which culminated in bombing discribed the canadian goverment in ottawa has two pictures which used to hang in the maritime museum but have been removed these pictures show 2 subs transiting the long sauly rapids record of the attack is recorded in the whig standard in toronto the dirigible which found the sub i have not been able to trace
Hi Mr. Wahl. Thanks very much for contacting me regarding the anchor which I had the pleasure of seeing at your marina recently. I would be delighted to speak to you in more detail about the events you describe. Please email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I appreciate your enthusiasm for the subject and look forward to hearing your tale.
The Nazi Swastika were canted 45 degrees. The one pictured is square to the horizontal axis of the anchor.
Correct, and the symbol’s use on the anchor is fully explained in the article.
It is also interesting that the Byers handbook shows an anti-clockwise swastika yet the one on the anchor is clockwise?? Any explanation?
U-boats were found all along the Eastern Seaboard. Some of them were used to drop off Nazi saboteurs. See this link for more info https://tecinquires.wordpress.com/2016/11/26/nazi-saboteurs-u-boat-518/
It’s my experience that as Skip was looking he would have found it if it was there. That guy is a fish.