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U-35 Chief Engineer Gerhard Stamer
Gerhard Stamer was born on November 6th 1911 in Straupitz/Schlesien, Germany.
The Stamer family in April 1921. From right: Gerhard Stamer, his father Heinrich Stamer, his brother Hans-Heinrich Stamer, and his
stepmother Lore Stamer. His mother, born Auguste Caspari, died in 1919.
Gerhard Stamer joined the Reichsmarine (German Navy, which was later renamed Kriegsmarine) on 01 April 1932 (Crew 32). Because he was on the engineering
officer track, he was not on board the training ship Niobe when it sank on 26 July 1932 with the loss of 69 men, including 27 officer recruits.
He became a Kadett (Ing.) (Engineering Cadet) on 04 Nov 1932. He served on board the Kreuzer (cruiser) Köln from 06 November 1932 to 02 January 1934.
He was promoted to Fähnrich (Ing.) on 01 January 1934.
He joined the crew of the Kreuzer Königsberg on 22 May 1935, and was promoted to Oberfähnrich (Ing.) on 01 September 1935. On 01 January 1936 he attained
the rank of Leutnant (Ing.)
(Junior Lieutenant, Engineer), second among the class of 22 Engineering Officers.
Leutnant (Ing.) Gerhard Stamer in August 1936.
In November 1936 Gerhard Stamer became "Kompanieoffizier in der Ausbildungsabteilung" of the First Destroyer Division. He was promoted to the rank of
Oberleutnant (Ing.) (Senior Lieutenant, Engineer) on 01 October 1937 (second among the class of candidates). In November 1937 he entered Engineering Training.
He served as Leitender Ingenieur (LI) (Chief Engineer) of U-35 from 02 Nov to 30 Nov 1938, and again as of 06 April 1939.
unknown, unknown, Willi Dietrich, unknown, and Gerhard Stamer (right) on the conning tower of U-35 in August 1939. 
The crew of U-35, including Gerhard Stamer, upon return from the first war patrol. [33,cover photo of 32]
Another photograph taken of the U-35 crew, including Gerhard Stamer, upon return from the first war cruise. 
On 12 October 1939, he and Theodor Schütt were awarded Iron Crosses (second class) for making successful repairs to U-35 on 21 September 1939
while sitting at the bottom of the sea at 115 meters (377 feet). A British destroyer had dropped only one depth charge (because, said the escort captain, contact was doubtful). That depth charge was so accurately placed that it knocked out one of U-35's periscopes and put the blower system out of action.
e was promoted to Kapitänleutnant (Ing.) (Lieutenant Commander, Engineer) on 01 November 1939 (24th in the class of 27).
29 November 1939; from the reminiscences of Gerhard Stamer :
Dawn. "Enemy Destroyers in sight!" "Alarm" "Dive" "Go to 13 metres (42 feet)". That is how it started.
During the attempt to attack the Home Fleet somehow, if it should leave harbour to intervene in the return home of our battleships SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU we were picked up by the sonar sets of three British Destroyers, KINGSTON, KASHMIR and ICARUS approximately 60° North 2° East. Depth charge attacks lasted until noon. There were no direct hits but leaks developed which made it increasingly difficult to hold the boat down and when the last salvo jammed the hydroplanes in the "Hard Up" position the boat could no longer be held and the attempt to force the boat back below the surface through quick flooding of the ballast tanks failed as a main vent jammed.
"All hands abandon ship". Later as the last person below deck I succeeded in clearing the jam and as I reached the bridge the boat sank beneath the Captain's feet and mine.
We drifted for some hours in our life jackets until the British Destroyers turned towards us again and threw ropes to us with which we were landed on board.
Our treatment was excellent, just like ship-wrecked people. It was the destroyer H.M.S. KASHMIR who took most of the crew, with me as the Senior Officer; the rest,
with our Captain, were picked up by H.M.S.KINGSTON
. All were saved including our two non-swimmers.
On board we learned that the Chief of their Destroyer Flotilla was Lord Mountbatten
, cousin of the King.
At my request we were allowed to speak with our men. Lieutenant Commander Scatchard gave up his cabin to me.
More from the reminiscences of Gerhard Stamer:
Before we were turned over to the Army in Birkenhead he told me to sign the Visitors' Book. To my reply "There is a war on you know" he said "That has nothing to do with it. The first name in this Visitors' Book is that of our Chief's cousin, His Majesty the King. You are the second". I could never get over this.
The difference between our treatment on board and on land we then found great. We were transferred to London and put up at The Tower. We were not very happy with our treatment. That became sensationally better after a visit announced to us by the Sergeant "The Cousin of the King comes!"
On board the train from Greenock to London on the night of 2nd to 3rd December 1939, Gerhard Stamer arranged for a bottle of beer in honor of Werner Lott's
birthday on December 3rd. In addition, the Scots Guards taught the crewmembers the song "Happy Birthday".
He was assigned POW Number 37422
At the time of capture, his rank was reported by the UK as Ob.Ltn. (Ing.); he had recently been promoted to Kapitänleutnant (Ing.)
After being transported from Glasgow to the Tower of London for a stay of a few days, Gerhard Stamer and the other U-35 officers, as well as the cook Martin Müller
, were transported to POW Camp 1, Grizedale Hall, often referred to as "U-Boat Hotel" due to the presence of the U-Boat officer POWs.
In May 1940, Gerhard Stamer was transported with many other German POWs to Canada. Canadian POW camps in which he was a prisoner included Gravenhurst,
Fort Henry, Bowmanville, Farnham, Grande Ligne, and Seebe
One day at Kingston, Ontario (Fort Henry, POW camp 31), Gerhard Stamer and others were occupied on the toilet seats when General Major Georg Friemel (the
senior German officer in the camp) entered the room to go to the bathroom. Gerhard Stamer remembers:
We lifted a little bit and I said "Gentlemen, the General", and he said, "Please, Stamer, forget the nonsense." We all laughed heartily.
In the fall of 1940, one of the casemates was transformed into a beer cellar, named "Heldenkeller" (Heroes Cellar), thanks to the efforts of Gerhard Stamer
and three other men. A mural is still there today gracing the ceiling of the casemate beer cellar. There are three scenes: one is of a knight and a monk to signify courage and wisdom, drinking together; another has two knights in combat to signify the ideology of fighting to the end; the third shows an attack on a merchant convoy. Crests were painted under the murals to represent German squadrons, towns, and families. [16,24]
In July 1941, evidence of one of the many escape attempts was found in the dining hut. Gerhard Stamer was sentenced to twenty-one days detention and assessed
the cost of the damages to the canteen wall. But the next day when two other officers admitted to the 'crime', Gerhard Stamer
was released. 
Some of the officers were later moved back to the Gravenhurst, Ontario POW camp. Luftwaffe pilot Ulrich Steinhilper remembers Gerhard Stamer there, and includes this group photograph in his memoirs :
Officers at the Gravenhurst POW camp. Hptm. Neumann, Hptm. Fiebig, Obltn. Machui, Kptltn. Schulte, Maj. Wuestefeld, Oblt. z. S.
Albrecht, Kptln. (Ing.) Gerhard Stamer, Kptln. (Ing.) Schilling (L.I. U-33), Maj. Keil, Obltn. Hennings 
Beckmann (U-27), Albert Schrader (U-35), Werner Lott (U-35), Johannes Franz (U-27), Schilling (L.I. U-33), Hans Jenisch (U-32), Hans-Joachim Roters (U-35), Johannes Becker (U-33), Anton Thimm, Fritz Erbshäuser (U-32), [unknown].  The dog on the left was named "Hexe" (witch) and belonged to Hans-Joachim Roters; the dog on the right was named "Flaps" and belonged to Becker. 
U-35 crewmembers assembled at the Grande-Ligne
POW camp in Quebec, Canada, 1944.
Edgar, Freiherr von Salis-Soglio, a fellow POW at Grande-Ligne wrote in his autobiography :
In addition to everything else existed a canteen - administered and enlarged by naval officer Stamer. Not only beer is available. Stamer supplements it by often delicious treats, considered by the suppliers of our canteen to be most desirable. They even do him a favor - The first strawberries have appeared on the market, at least as reported by the market newspaper of Montreal. But when the housewives wanted to buy strawberries, none are available any longer. Stamer
has long since "scrounged" them into the stockpile. There is a serious scandal, about which we hear only from our guard, who slipped us a newspaper with the concerned article circled in red.
Gerhard Stamer was promoted to Korvettenkapitän (Ing.) on 01 January 1944. [1,9]
After returning to England in May 1946, Gerhard Stamer was a prisoner in the Sheffield, Llanover Park and Llan Martin POW camps. He began to correspond with
In summer 1946 we came back to England. The Captains and Chief Engineers of U-Boats were "frozen" and besides, as a result of my "screening" I was taken with "C" out of repatriation.
Then I thought of the former visit to The Tower and wrote to "The Viceroy of India" with the request "You brought me in, please get me out".
Of course he couldn't but he was friendly enough to answer at once. I took this letter with me to the next interrogation, which lasted four hours and was not very pleasant as the interrogator, Lieutenant Edelstone had been severely treated in Germany. But his manner changed as soon as he read the letter and the "frozen in" melted.
He was repatriated on 20 May 1947.
In 1957, Gerhard Stamer was offered the position
of Fregattenkapitän in the newly created Bundesmarine, the West
German Navy. With great regret he declined the offer, since it would have meant
severing all ties to his brother, who lived in eastern (communist) Germany.
Several of the U-35 crew visited the Tower of London in post-war years. During one such visit, Gerhard Stamer shocked the tour guide and visitors by explaining that he had been one of the prisoners!
Gerhard Stamer in 1975 at his retirement.
At the Bruse residence in 1979: Irma Stamer, a fellow former POW, Gerhard Stamer
, [not yet identified]. 
On the wall hangs a painting of U-35, which was a present to Siegfried Bruse.
In Kitchener, Ontario, Canada in 1979: Clockwise from front: Siegfried Bruse, Wolf-Dieter Kempf, Irma Stamer, [not yet identified], Gerhard
Gerhard Stamer was employed by the German subsidiary of British Petroleum for many years after the war. He died on 19 August 1982 in Germany, and was survived by his wife, Irma Stamer, who passed away on 28 April 2014.
His obituary, written by fellow Crew 1932 member Claus Korth for the Marine-Offizier-Vereinigung (MOV) publication "Marineforum" (1982, issue 10):
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© 1999-2021 (relative of U-35 Chief Engineer Gerhard Stamer)