Story of Matthias Lohr who is the great great nephew of one of the crew members who perished on the U102
Hello to you all. I came to this site through Kevin. Now that you have dived to SM U 102, I think it's time to out me. I am a relative of one of the victims resting in peace there. My name is Matthias Löhr. I live in Berlin and work for the Foreign Ministry. At first a great thank to the divers who went down. My question is, in which condition is the wreck? Who big is the damage on the stern? And was the damage really produced by a mine of the so called Northern Barrage?
But at first, here is my story: Since 2003 I am interested in the destiny of my great great uncle Alfred Gerke, who was U-Boat-Man in the Great War. Through internet I came to the Forum Imperial Navy. It was told, that he died in September 1918 while on board of U 102. The boat is missed since then somewhere in the Nort Sea. The boat possibly sank by mine hit of the Northern Barrage. Through the years I found out with the help of friends with the same interest that he served not only on U 102. He entered the Navy October 1 , 1913. In autumn 1914 or in early 1915 he was on the famous U 9, then on UC 15 and before U 102, he served on UB 50. In the u-boat archive Cuxhaven I found one photo showing him on board of U 9. One day I bought an old crew photo via Ebay. When I had it in my hands I could recognize him and then identify the crew as that of UB 50. In november 2006 I received a mail from Michael Lowrey writing me, that the MCA had presumably found the wreck of U 102 (and U 92). So I mailed what I had of both boats (construction plans, photos as well as technical dates). The plans could be put together with the sonar photos and there was absolute conformity. The construction row was small (U99-U105) of which only U 102 was missed. Now, after diving to it, your special and really invaluable work, you can put an end to the incertainty of the wreck.
After nearly 90 years one of the last secret of the submarine warfare is short before being disclosed. I want to add that I have contact to the family of Kapitänleutnant Curt Beitzen, the commander of the boat. They are kept informed by me about proceedings of the works. One last coincidence: I found a crew photo of them, unknown until now, at Ebay. The seller came from Berlin and so I got it, also because of my story. It was taken just before the last departure at Helgoland harbour.
So, now you know my story and my special interest in this matter. I intend to come to the Orkneys, but do not know, when. But I am not a diver.
Best regards from Berlin, Matthias