Dangerous Top Secret Mission: Shipping the Guns to Ireland (Part 3)

explosion at sea

Part 1: https://johnkennymemorial.wordpress.com/2015/11/08/german-guns-for-irish-rebels/

Part 2: https://johnkennymemorial.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/dangerous-top-secret-mission-shipping-the-guns-to-ireland-part-2/

Part 3

On the evening of Good Friday, fate finally caught up with the Aud. The ship’s suspicious lingering along the coastline had caught the attention of the British, already aware that a shipment of arms from Germany would at some time be heading to the west coast of Ireland. Surrounded by British ships, the Aud sailed resignedly around the southwestern tip of Ireland reaching Queenstown Harbor by morning. Sailing into the busy harbor in the blinding morning sunshine, Spindler gathered his crew of twenty-one men.

“When we light the fuses, it will be touch-and-go if we get off the ship in one piece. Then we have to get out of the vicinity of the ship once she goes under, or we’ll be sucked down. I need four volunteers to stay behind with me to light the fuses.”

The crew refused, insisting that all would stay on board until the ship was scuttled.

The lifeboats were surreptitiously lowered into place. The German flag was raised. The men discarded their coats, revealing their uniforms underneath. Spindler glanced once more around the deck at the ship that had taken them safely through storms and wartime blockades. As he lit the fuses the crew dashed for the lifeboats and lowered them swiftly to the water. As the first explosions shook the ship, sending roaring flames and splintered wood skyward, they rowed frantically to escape the suction of the ship as she sank. The flaming wood landed, sizzling, in the water, and then, silence.

The men in the lifeboats paused in their rowing and looked back at the ship. If the explosives failed to light, the arms they had risked their lives to bring to Ireland would end up in their enemy’s hands. The small boats rocked wildly on the choppy surface as the crew watched the Aud.

A violent explosion threw the splintered top of the ship skyward, rocking the ground around the harbor for miles. The munitions in the hold had caught fire. A huge column of smoke rose to the skies as the ship reared up out of the sea, blazing, and slid down under the waves, an enormous hissing column of steam rising up.

What was left of the arms for the uprising slowly settled to the bottom of Queenstown Harbor.


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