Swansea pensioner recalls his adventure on a German E-boat thanks to old cutting
MEMORIES of adventure on the high seas have come flooding back for a Swansea pensioner following the discovery of a newspaper cutting.
When Wynne Lewis was learning his trade as a fitter and turner in Swansea Docks, shortly after the Second World War, he got the opportunity to work on a Nazi E-boat - once the fastest vessel in the world.
The craft, which was called the Rugmoss, had arrived in Swansea to be converted into a pleasure craft. It’s maiden voyage, following the conversion at the town’s South Dock, was cut short after it hit a pier head and had to return to port for repairs.
The event was reported in the Evening Post on January 29, 1952.
Mr Lewis was later to help deliver the craft down to Tangiers in North Africa where it was sold under suspicious circumstance.
Mr Lewis’s daughter, Anne Lewis, said: “He did his apprenticeship with George Brothers in Swansea Docks when he was 14.
“It was a long time ago but he worked on the E-boat and there was a piece in the Evening Post, the headline said something like Enemy Boat tied up in Swansea Docks.
“I thought at first that his memory wasn’t serving him well but the I spoke to other people who remembered seeing it in
“He worked on her in the docks when he was 20-years old and then helped deliver her to Tangiers after she was bought by two men.
“E-boats are sometimes referred to as Schnell boats, as they out ran any other vessel of the time. He thinks that it was bought to run contraband; it was so fast the police couldn’t catch it.”
It would appear that the boat’s smuggling days were short-lived with Miss Lewis saying: “My father said that he saw in a magazine that it was beached in 1954.”
Mr Lewis, now in his 80’s the father of three who lives in Skewen, has been reminded of the vessel after his daughter unearthed that Evening Post article.
She said: “One of his few regrets was not having a picture of the boat so I managed to search the archives and find the story.
“He was so happy when he saw the picture.”
Recalling the episode Mr Lewis said: “It was a perfect voyage over to Tangiers, it has a top speed of 36 knots.
I think we handed it over to an Italian and Maltese.
It seemed as though they were up to no good, the Spanish authorities had nothing to touch it at the time.
“Then a few years later, I was working for BP, and picked up this American magazine and there was an article on it being beached.
“If they were being chased and were carrying contraband they would head for the north African coast and beach then make a run for it.”
On being handed the newspaper cutting he said: “It was brilliant to see a picture of it again and it brought back a lot of memories.”