Many of us spend a lot of time researching and portraying machines
and artifacts of history and tools of war. I thought that it was high time we
gave a thought or two to the men who served too.
Consequently, this first in a series of
small portraits of submarine personnel is offered: Reinhard "Teddy" Suhren,
commander of U564, and one of the most successful U-Boat skippers of
He was also ....A nice
I became quite fascinated by
this little fellow the first time I saw a photograph of him - must have been
that infectious grin.
Constantly being hauled over the coals
for a somewhat insubordinate attitude toward authority, and almost brazenly
unsympathetic to the National Socialist cause, Suhren nevertheless managed to
become one of the highest decorated officers in the Kriegsmarine and was revered, it seems, by all who knew him
and served with him. I can only assume that, Nazi Germany being what it was -
this guy had charm ...in buckets !
It appears that he received the nickname whilst a naval cadet;
standing a little over 5' tall in his socks, he is said to have resembled a
Teddy Bear when marching !
He survived the war, and
difficult personal circumstances immediately after, to work out the remainder of
his life as a businessman in Hamburg until he passed away in
1984. For further reading on this fascinating character, one
can do far worse than read Lawrence Paterson's "U-Boat War
Patrol" (Greenhill Books, London, 2004) - which I highly