May 7th, 1945 (MONDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: U-2336, a type XXIII U-boat, sinks the British coasters Avondale Park and Sneland off the Firth of Forth.
Canadian freighter SS Avondale Park torpedoed and sunk in the Firth of Forth in position 56.10N, 002.32W, by U-2336, Kptlt Emil Klusmeier, CO. Avondale Park was Canadian-owned but British-manned merchantman and was the last British ship to be sunk during WW.II. The ship was part of Convoy EN-91 bound for Belfast and was two miles south-east of May Island, in the Firth of Forth, when she was torpedoed at 2240. The ship sank in ten minutes. The chief engineer and a donkeyman from the AVONDALE PARK Park (Master James Wilson Martin Cushnie) died. The master, 31 crew members and four gunners were rescued by the escorts. The coaster Sneland was also sunk in this attack. Neither U-boat had received the message to cease hostilities on May 4.
D/S Sneland I NS * Rich. Amlie & Sverre Amlie, Haugesund 1791 gt Built Stettin-Grabow, Germany, delivered in Sept.-1922 as Ingeborg until 1925.
Captain Johannes Lūgland. Sneland I was commodore ship in the outward bound convoy EN 91 from Methil (voyage from Blyth to Belfast with a cargo of about 2800 tons coal) when she was torpedoed by U-2336 (Klusmeier, who had just taken over the command of the boat on Apr. 1) in the evening of May 7-1945 and sunk 56 09 36N 02 31 24W. This position is according to Lloyd's War Losses, Hocking simply says "about 160 miles east of the Firth of Forth" - incorrect.
The convoy consisted of 5 ships escorted by the armed trawlers Angle, Wolves and Leicester City, having departed Methil shortly after 8 o'clock that night. The initial attack took place just before 11 o'clock when the convoy was about 1.5- 2 miles south of the Isle of May. The first victim was the Canadian S/S Avondale Park which lost 2 men out of a crew of 28 and 4 gunners, namely Chief Engineer Anderson and Donkeyman William Harvey who were in the engine room. Just a few minutes later Sneland I was hit (starboard side. I've also seen the time given as 22:45 for the torpedo strike, and the time 22:47 for the actual sinking). These were the last ships to be sunk by U-boat before the war officially ended.
Out of Sneland I's crew of 26 and 3 gunners 7 died, including the captain, 1 died while being brought ashore. The 22 survivers were picked up by HM Trawlers Valse (T-151) and Leicester City (FY-223), later transferred to D/S Selvik (listed further up on this page) and taken to Methil. (Denis Peck)
An order for another 300 de Havilland Vampire jet fighters is placed with English Electric at Preston, Lancashire. (22)
The 196th and final U-boat sunk by Coastal Command (U-320) is destroyed by a Consolidated Catalina of No. 210 Squadron 120 miles north-east of Sullom Voe.
ENGLISH CHANNEL: At 2145, KNM NYMS-382 was hit by a Gnat from U-1023 and sank within two minutes off Lyme Bay. The commander and 21 crewmembers were lost. Ten injured survivors were picked up by KNM NYMS-379 and NYMS-381 of the 3rd Minesweeping Unit stationed in Cherbourg, to which the minesweeper also belonged. (DS)
FRANCE: Rheims: At 2.40 this morning, in an upstairs room of the Rheims College Moderne de Garcons, where French children played table tennis before the war, Admiral von Friedeburg and General Alfred Jodl, of the German high command, today signed the surrender of "all forces on land, sea and in the air who are at this date under German control". Jodl said that the German people and the German armed forces had "achieved and suffered more than perhaps any other people in the world. I can only express my hope that the victor will treat them with generosity."
The cease-fire covers the Soviet front as well as western Europe and comes into effect at 2301 hours tomorrow. It was witnessed by General Bedell Smith for Eisenhower's Allied Command, General Suslaparov for the USSR and General Sevez for France.
GERMANY: The German garrison at Breslau surrenders to the Red Army after an 82-day siege.
CZECHOSLOVAKIA: The US 97th Infantry Division is credited with firing the last official shot in the European Theatre of Operations by US troops tonight when, near Klenovice in the Pilsen area, Private First Class Domenic Mozzetta Company B, 387 Regiment, fires at a German sniper near Klenovice shortly before midnight. (Charles R. Gregory)
08:40: On a dirt road some 12 kilometres into Czechoslovakia,
a reconnaissance platoon of the US Army's 803rd Tank Destroyer Battalion,
Company C, is blindsided by a hail of enemy machine gun and small arms fire from
concealed positions in the woods.
Soldiers from the German 11th Panzer Division fire off four rounds of panzerfausts, which explode around the lead American vehicle, an M-8 armoured car. The American GIs in the second vehicle, an open jeep, get the worst of it: Two take hits to the hands and face: Pfc Charley Havlat is killed.
"Charley... Well, he fired once at the enemy and then I guess
he ducked down at the hood of the jeep. But he forgot to move in another
direction and he peeked back up, I guess, at the same position and they
apparently had a bead right on him, so... and he died instantly.
That's what I've been told, anyway."
Adolph Havlat, now in his early eighties, was one of three Czech-American brothers from the close-knit farming community of Dorchester, Nebraska, to serve in Europe during the Second World War. Rudolph Havlat passed away a couple of years ago. Their oldest brother Pfc Charles Havlat, was the last American GI killed in action on the 5th Division front, and is officially the last American KIA in the entire European Theatre. He was 34 years old.
The re-con men of the 803rd returned fire until their radio
operator received word that, some nine minutes before the ambush, a cease-fire
order had gone into effect, and an armistice was in effect. The company got
orders to withdraw back into the town of Wallern, now known as Volary.
Less than six hours after the attack, Nazi Germany surrendered unconditionally. Taken captive later, the German officer who led the ambush said he knew nothing of the cessation of hostilities until 30 minutes after their effective time and apologised for the incident.
Prague: General Bunyachenko of the 1st Division POA is informed that Prague is to be occupied by the Soviets. The incoming pro-Soviet government of Eduard Benes demands their surrender or abandonment of Prague.
NORWAY: Oslo: Germany announces a cease-fire.
Corvette HMCS Dunvegan departed Halifax with escort for Convoy SC-175. (DS)
U.S.A.: San Francisco: The Big Four (China, UK, USA, USSR) nations reached agreement here today on all except the Polish and trusteeship questions. Tomorrow the smaller nations will finish the drafting of a charter for the new "United Nations". Two points of friction between the western Allies and the USSR were resolved here today. The General Assembly will have the power to arbitrate in international disputes which threaten to erupt into war, and the UN will be given jurisdiction over future alliances. Settlement of the Polish question is being held up by the unexplained arrest of 16 Polish delegates in Moscow.
In order to calibrate the instruments that will be used to record the Trinity atomic bomb test, a 100-ton test is performed today.http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Tests/100ton.jpg http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Tests/100TonExp1.jpg http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Tests/100TonExp2.jpg http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Tests/100TonExp3.jpg
ATLANTIC OCEAN: Minesweeper HMCS Thunder accepted surrender of German m/s, FGi, Bay of Biscay. (DS)
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