Digest>Archives> July 2004

Silent Runner


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This true story proves once again that historical stories revolving around lighthouses are better than most of the fictional material you get on TV nowadays.

This amazing story here in Lighthouse Digest is a condensed version of a much longer story that appears in the book, Silent Runner - Wolfgang Heyda U-Boat Commander. The book is a biography of Wolfgang Heyda who was commander of U-Boat 120 and U-Boat 434. The book also includes accounts of the sinking of the Segelschulschiff Niobe, the HG-76 convoy battle, the Battle of Bowmanville and Operation Kiebitz, the escape attempt by Otto Kretschmer from Bowmanville, Ontario POW Camp. The story of the sinking of the Niobe is virtually unknown outside of Western Europe and that chapter includes the personal stories of several crewmembers never before printed in English.

Heyda’s U-Boat was involved in one of the great convoy battles of World WAR II. After his capture he was also involved in the prisoner uprising at the Bowmanville Prisoner of War Camp, prior to his daring escape from the POW Camp over a barbed wire fence with a trolley and a bosun’s chair.

Horst Elfe, Commander of U-93, wrote, “ . . . I must say you did a very great work. Your book is not only a historical picture but also a credit to Wolfgang Heyda as a U-Boat Commander and naval officer. This book has for me a special value remembering in particular the years which Wolfgang and I spent together in Canada.”

The book is available on line at


This story appeared in the July 2004 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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