A mystery of German U853 and its whereabouts

May 11, 2019


Where is the German submarine U-853? The only real authority on the matter, Melvin Joseph, is away in Florida on business and was not reached for comment. There have been reports the sub was raised and on its way to Lewes, Delaware. Another report said it is underwater off Block Island, Rhode Island, where it was sunk in WW II. Last Monday Wilhelm Von Keudell the German council in Boston reported having said the sub was raised by Melvin Joseph Company and on its way to Lewes. Keudell when contacted yesterday says he was misquoted last Saturday while in Newport to place a wreath on the graves of the two crewmen whose body had been recovered eight years ago. I gave the information I had, which was two weeks old, that he thought she could have been raised but the operation had come to a standstill but did not know why.

Joseph's wife was reached yesterday and she only knew her husband was trying to raise the U853 but the weather and waters got bad and the had to abandon the project. The Block Island Coast Guard knows of the attempt and the abandonment and gave the name of a New York salvage company as the contractor, The Murphy Machine Salvage Company and that Joseph Contractors were a subcontractor.

Now comes a telegram to the New York Headquarter of the Coast Guard from the Submarine research Associates of East Greenwich, Rhode Island, saying the U853 holds unsafe explosives and not be allowed in any port. The German press council at the German Embassy in Washington, DC said his government had no rights to the submarine but his office was notified of the salvage attempt because there are 55 German seamen aboard.

Bill Frank of the New journal papers says the U853 is still on the bottom off Port Judith with 53 dead including the skipper, Kaptainleutnant Helmet Sommer and that the stories of gold and cash were on board are inventions of the minds. Bill Franks story is in the Saturday Wilmington Morning News, Saturday, November 23, 1968.


Abstract: Wilmington Morning News, by Susses Bureau, Susan Sternberger, Wednesday, November 20, 1986.



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