The crew of U-570 were in an odd mood. First they had the overwhelming belief that they would soon be home with a German victory, but they were also surprised at the amount and range of food available in the UK. They had been lead to believe that the German submarine blockade was so overwhelming, and was choking the UK to her knees. In addition they were glad to be off the U-570. Life on board had never shaped up to the life they were promised by the recruiting propaganda. Equally they were out from under the thumb of their officers. One in particular had been seen as a problem, the 2nd in command of the U-boat, 25 year old Lieutenant Bernhard Berndt.
Things took a fateful turn when British newspapers reported that U-570 had arrived at Barrow-in-Furness, a mere 30 odd miles from Grizedale Hall. Lt Berndt proposed a plan to regain his honour. He would escape, make his way to the U-570 and destroy her. Kretschmer was also in charge of the German escape committee, and passed the plan. A number of items were manufactured by the Germans including a uniform of some sort.
The camp at Grizedale Hall was a double line of wire fencing with a few guard towers and a collection of huts for the Germans. On the night of 18th October 1941 Lt Berndt crawled out to the wire and used a pair of homemade wire cutters to make a hole big enough for him to crawl to freedom.
However the camp commander was aware of the escape almost immediately. Had Lt Berndt been spotted by a sentry? Or had someone in the camp informed on his escape? Either way the local Home Guard was alerted and they began patrolling the area. In the morning of the 19th a patrol searching a nearby farm raised the corner of a tarpaulin and looked underneath it, they found a shivering Lt Berndt in hiding. After his arrest the Home Guards started to lead him back to Grizedale Hall, upon realising his fate was to be returned to that hostile environment Lt Berndt broke away from his guards and fled across the fields. The Home Guards fired a volley of warning shots, which Lt Berndt ignored, the next volley was not aimed to miss.
He was buried locally, with full honours at the insistence of Kretschmer. However due to an error and the locals unfamiliarity with German ranks and names, the last part of Lt Berndts German rank of "Oberleutnant zur See" was mistranslated as his first name. This meant that his burial record read "Lee Bernhard Berndt". It's curious to note that despite the thousands of men involved in the entire story of U-570, including several exchanges of fire Lt Berndts is the only death involved with the submarine, including with its three war patrols under Royal Navy Service.
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