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U-123 Relics Lorient

Discussion in 'Trench Art' started by Skipper, Jul 27, 2014.

  1. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Found by pure chance at a local flea market:


    These are two pieces of artwork of an U-Boot (U-123) .

    The story of the U-123 is quite unbelievable. It was commanded by Reinhardt Hardegen and sunk a record number of ships including in New-York Harbor. It was disarmed in Lorient in 1944 and captured by the Americans in May 1945 who handed it over to the French .

    [​IMG]

    The French repaired it and used it with its original name from 1945 to 1947. In 1947 it was renamed Blaison (as a tribute to the Commander of the Surcouf).

    The first piece of art is a souvenir Made in Lorient during the war and left as the U-123 with a French flag replacing the swastika. It was probably made in 1945 by the same company who made kriegsmarine souvenirs.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Quite similar souvernirs are to be found in the Heimdal kreigsmarine book and at the la Rochelle Bunker Museum.

    [​IMG]

    The second piece is a embroidery made in 1945 for a sailor called Bernard Vignot who served on the U-123 immediately when it was refitted . Vignot was a padre .

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Sandwichery likes this.
  2. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    Find of a lifetime Skipper. Good one!
     
  3. Sandwichery

    Sandwichery Active Member

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    You lucky dog! Thanks for sharing.
     
  4. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    I got there quite late and was lucky to be the first one to actually check out all the details. There is also a journal from the Padre with a reminder of military and naval vocabulary etc... It was dated a few years after he initially served on the U-123 so most potential buyers thought this was a post war relic. Then I saw the U-Boot code and having just seen the La Rochelle model (shown above) I realized what it was. There was also a French cap tally (which has nothing to do with this sub but added to the confusion) . Also the frame and souvenir were covered with some cheap 70s type plastic wrapping which made it look really kitch and post war. (it took me 30 seconds to remove it and get the original black back .) it was only upon getting home that I found out what the U-123 career was.
     
  5. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    Nice finds Skipper. Its worth noting that U123's commander Reinhard Hardegen is still alive: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinhard_Hardegen

    I think he's one of the last surviving u-boat captains, and with the death of Hans-Gunther Lange is the only living recipient of the U-Boat War Badge with Diamonds.
     
  6. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Lovely Skip proud to own these two items in your KM colelction. last I heard when I was in for a hospital visit was Reinhard was not at all well.

    alles gut
     
  7. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    I'm aware of this. Unfortunately Mr Hardegen is over 100 now and I do not wish to disturb him with this.
     
  8. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    I have to wonder how much his family would appreciate seeing it.

    Plus they might be able to provide some information about it's creator.
    It would be interesting to check out more of his or her art work.
     
  9. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    The creator could have been someone from his Church .
     

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