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A COVENTRY kid whose elder brother was killed when his ship was torpedoed in the Second World War is to put up his name on a brass plaque ... alongside that of a Commander of a German U-boat.

Tony Jordan, who survived the Blitz in Coventry, was 11 years old when his big brother Ron, a Merchant Navy sailor, was killed aged just 19. He had been on board the oil tanker British Resource when it was torpedoed three times by the U-boat U124 off Cape Hatteras in March, 1942.

Ron was a carpenter by trade. He was working in Liverpool on ships when the captain of one was short of a carpenter and persuaded him to join the crew.

He went on a trip to Rio de Janeiro and when war broke out, a law was passed preventing merchant seamen from leaving their posts. So in 1942 he found himself on board the oil tanker British Resource.

"So he was sent to his death almost by accident," said Tony, a retired teacher and education official who now lives in Stretton-on-Dunsmore.

On being hit, the British Resource burst into an horrendous inferno. Lifeboats and rafts caught fire and four sailors were seen struggling to swim in the burning sea.

U124 was captained that day by Commander Johann Mohr, who steered his submarine close enough to read the name of the stricken ship then went on his way. A year later he died when the U124 was sunk in the mid-Atlantic with all hands.

In contrast, his predecessor in charge of U124 had showed much more compassion for his enemies. On two separate occasions, Commander Georg-Wilhelm Schulz assisted Allied sailors after sinking their ships.

Four days after sinking the Umona, his submarine came across three sailors on a rescue raft, drifting 200 miles from the African coast. He gave them cigarettes, water and cognac, left to chase after another ship, then returned to give them directions to land. Two of the men reached safety.

Later, after sinking the British freighter Tweed, he took survivors on board, got his ship's doctor to treat an injured man, then gave them provisions before leaving them on their lifeboats.

Tony Jordan, now aged 72, is to commemorate Ron and Commander Schulz by putting their names together on a brass plaque on a huge bench designed by German artist Jochen Gerz for the Phoenix Initiative. It will be placed at the new entrance to the British Museum of Road Transport.

Mr Jordan, who lived in Cornwall Street, Coventry, during the Blitz, thought hard about which U-boat commander to name - the hard-headed Mohr who torpedoed Ron or the compassionate Schulz. He chose Schulz.


LINKS: Tony Jordan (left) with artist Jochen Gerz, whose bench will feature Ron Jordan's name paired with a U-boat commander; WARTIME FOES: Ron Jordan (left) and U-boat commanders Georg-Wilhelm Schulz and Johann Mohr
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Feb 28, 2003
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