Since Spring 2009 I have been researching anything nautical that occurred in the Bahamas (then a colony of Britain) during World War II.
Specifically my goal was to identify as many vessels as possible (about 25,000 of them) that transited the Bahamas from September 1939 to May 1945, particularly merchant and navy vessels, and Axis submarines. With the help of convoyweb.co.uk and sites like uboat.net, warsailors.com and regiamarina.net I was able to identify 111 German and Italian submarine patrols in a million-square-mile area from Florida east to Anegada and the Greater Antilles north to Bermuda.
In that area encompassing the Bahamas some 125 Allied merchant ships were attacked between February 1942 and September 1944, with the result that over 6,000 mariners were tossed into the sea. 315 of them landed in the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos.
The experiences of these men forms the basis of my book website, www.uboatsbahamas.com (please sign the guest book!) and a book, titled either “UBoats in the Bahamas” or “Drifting to the Duchess”. The Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson, was posted to the Bahamas with her husband, the Duke of Windsor (King Edward VIII before he abdicated in 1936 to marry Wallis).
He was the Governor of the colony from 1940 to 1945, she was the President of the Bahamas Red Cross. In that capacity they both welcomed and tended to the needs of the hundreds of survivors in Nassau from ships including Kollskegg, O. A. Knudsen, Cygnet, Athelqueen, Daytonian and Potlatch. In the Turks & Caicos men landed from Fauna, Vivian P. Smith and Vineland.
I am new to blogging, but will be posting photos and updates from my research on this blog in the months and years ahead. The book will be published by BrickTowerPress.com in the Fall of 2013.
Thanks for your interest. You can also follow uboatsbahamas on Twitter and join the Facebook group.
Eric T. Wiberg, Capt./Esq.
Norwalk, CT, USA