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Obituary: Nick Mead, officer who accounted for last U-boat sunk in World War II

Published 04/06/2015

Sea battles: Nick Mead
Sea battles: Nick Mead

Veteran seaman Nick Mead, who has died at 93, will be remembered as the anti-submarine officer who directed the sinking of a German U-boat in April 1945 - the last sinking of an enemy sub in the Second World War.

First Lieutenant Mead, who was born at Cobh (formerly Queenstown) in the Republic, was on the bridge of the destroyer Watchman on a voyage to Portsmouth when he detected the submarine U-1195 on the seabed preparing to attack the convey he was protecting and ordered a counter-attack.

Mead, who was due to go on leave that morning, travelled to London on the same train as the survivors of the U-boat.

He was inspired to join the Navy after hearing stories of bravery on the Titanic as a boy.

In May 1943 Nick, who had relations in Fermanagh, was the anti-submarine officer on the destroyer Broadway, protecting a convoy laden with food and supplies for the Allied war effort. The convoy was attacked by three wolf packs of German U-boats north east of the Azores.

Swordfish aircraft spotted enemy sub U-89 and Sub-Lieut Mead, directed by the Belfast-built frigate Lagan, hunted the U-89 and sank it.

Mead was awarded the DSC for gallantry, skill and devotion to duty and promoted to Lieutenant. He ended the war as First Lieutenant of the submarine depot ship Woolwich in Colombo, then worked as a property developer, film-maker and car-dealer before settling in South Africa. He married Phyllis Foster-Smith in 1943; she and a son predeceased him.

He is survived by a son and daughter. Mead's ashes were scattered, with his wife's, in the Indian Ocean.

Belfast Telegraph

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