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Wolfgang Heyda
Born (1913-11-14)14 November 1913
Died 21 August 1947(1947-08-21) (aged 33)
Place of birth Arys, East Prussia[1]
Place of death Kiel, Germany
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch  Kriegsmarine
Commands held U-120, 26 November 1940–19 May 1941
U-434, 21 June–18 December 1941

Wolfgang Heyda (14 November 1913–21 August 1947) was a German U-boat commander during World War II.

War service[edit | edit source]

After U-boat commander training aboard U-120, Lieutenant Commander Heyda took command of U-434 on 21 June 1941, and began his first war patrol on 11 November 1941. Near Gibraltar Heyda would become embroiled in a great convoy battle, and find himself a victim in the battle of the Atlantic. Commander Frederic John Walker, C.B. D.S.O., commander of the 36th Escort Group sank four U-boats on his first war patrol, including U-434. Heyda was eventually sent to the Bowmanville POW camp in Ontario, near Toronto, Canada.

Prisoner of war[edit | edit source]

At Bowmanville in October 1942 an insurrection of the prisoners protesting their being shackled took place for three days. The insurrection became known as the Battle of Bowmanville. Commander Otto Kretschmer was instrumental in the rebellion, having assaulted a Canadian guard and taking him prisoner.

Escape attempt[edit | edit source]

Operation Kiebitz, a plan to have Otto Kretschmer, Horst Elfe, Hans Ey and Hans Joachim Knebel-Döberitz escape and picked up by a U-boat, was developed in 1942 and was to be executed in September 1943. Knebel-Döberitz was the former adjutant of Admiral Karl Dönitz. The successful escape of Otto Kretschmer, a top U-boat ace, would be sensational. However, the escape plan was foiled, and Heyda made an escape via electric wires over a barbed wire fence. He then traveled 1,400 kilometres (870 mi) to Pointe de Maisonnette, New Brunswick on Chaleur Bay where he was to be picked up by a U-boat.

Police forces in Canada and the United States started a manhunt for the escaped POW. Heyda was captured on the beach at Pointe de Maisonnette where Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Navy were waiting for the U-boat to surface off-shore (the RCN had a substantial anti-submarine task force led by HMCS Rimouski (K121) hidden nearby). Heyda was taken to the Pointe de Maisonnette lighthouse where Lieutenant Commander Desmond Piers of the Royal Canadian Navy commanded the operation. There, Piers confronted Heyda who claimed to be a tourist on vacation. Depth charges were heard in the bay, but the commander of U-536, Lieutenant Commander Rolf Schauenburg, evaded the attacking ships and made it safely into the Atlantic only to be sunk six weeks later by the RCN.

Death[edit | edit source]

Heyda was returned to Camp 30 and was eventually released as a POW in May 1947. Heyda died of polio on 21 August 1947 in the Kiel University health clinic just three months after his release.

References[edit | edit source]

Notes
Bibliography

Further reading[edit | edit source]

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