The Music is The Floo'ers o' the Forest (Flowers of the Forest) written as a lament for the Scots killed at the Battle of Flodden in 1513.
Sung by Dick Gaughan.
The Royal Navy's Operation Deadlight
was the executive action which led to the sinking of 116 German U-Boats off Northern Ireland and Donegal between 27 November 1945 and 12 February 1946.
Because the imminent onset of winter and its associated rough seas in the area to the north west of Loch Ryan and Lisahally would make the towing and sinking of the U-Boats a hazardous task, it was decided that the action should be initiated without delay. The formal order for Operation Deadlight, which was issued on 14 November, involved just 30 U-Boats from Lisahally. The Operation itself started on 25 November, but Phase 1 was concerned with the U-Boats from Loch Ryan.
Phase 2 started on 29 December 1945 and, despite the relatively small number of U-Boats from Lisahally (only 26% of the total sunk), it was a major exercise which involved more Royal Navy and other vessels than the number ofU-Boats themselves.
The surface fleet, which included 19 destroyers and frigates -
of which three belonged to the Polish Navy - and which was under the
overall command of Captain St.J A Micklethwait, DSO**, RN,
(Captain (D) 17th Flotilla) - was moored at Moville near the mouth of
The arrangements were that each day during the operation,
small groups of U-Boats would be brought down river from Lisahally by
skeleton German crews, who would handover each U-boat to one of the surface vessels, disembark, and then be ferried back to Lisahally.
The aim was that the U-Boats should then be towed (unmanned) to a designated position 130 miles to the north west of Lough Foyle, where they would be sunk. The prime method was to be by the use of demolition charges, however if weather conditions allowed, three were to be sunk by torpedo from the submarine HMS Templar. If any of these methods of disposal failed, then the U-Boats were to be sunk by gunfire.
As expected, the weather was particularly bad in December 1945 and
January 1946, and the planned disposal arrangements did not work on the vast majority of occasions, especially as far as the plans for sinking the U-Boats with demolition charges were concerned. There were also major problems with the towing of the unmanned U-Boats by vessels which were not suited to such activity.
Comparison of the planned disposal arrangements for the 30 U-Boats from Lisahally with what actually happened shows the scale of disruption to the plans.
Not a single one of the U-Boats were sunk by demolition charges, and only one was sunk by torpedo. Of the remaining 29, three foundered under tow and 24 were sunk by gunfire before they ever reached the designated scuttling area.
The remaining two were sunk by gunfire in the scuttling area, as it was far too dangerous to follow the pre-planned demolition procedure.
Of the U-Boats from Lisahally sunk in Operation Deadlight, 28
were sunk between 29 December 1945 and 8 January 1946, and the remaining two, U-975 and U-3514, were sunk on 10 and 12 February 1946 respectively.
The 30 U-Boats concerned were:
U-244, U-278, U-294, U-363, U-516, U-541, U-668, U-764, U-802, U-825, U-861, U-874, U-875, U-883, U-901, U-930, U-975, U-1010, U-1022, U-1023, U-1109, U-1165, U-2336, U-2341, U-2351, U-2356, U-2502, U-2506, U-2511 and U-3514.