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Were any U-boat crew members captured off the North Carolina coast and held prisoner at Fort Bragg?

Ben Steelman
StarNews

According to The Encyclopedia of North Carolina, edited by William S. Powell, the first German prisoners of war to enter the United States were survivors of the U-352, sunk by the Coast Guard cutter Icarus off the Outer Banks on May 9, 1942.

The 33 survivors. out of a complement of 44, were detained briefly at Fort Bragg before being transferred to camps elsewhere in the United States.

No other POWs from the German navy seem to have been held in North Carolina. As local historian Wilbur D. Jones Jr. noted in “A Sentimental Journey,” a total of about 250 German POWs were held in three different bases around Wilmington between early 1944 and 1946. These men, however, were veterans of Rommel’s Afrika Corps.

POWs were also held at Camp Davis, Camp Butner, Seymour Johnson air base in Goldsboro and at smaller camps in Whiteville, Carthage, Edenton, Greensboro, Hendersonville, Roanoke Rapids and Scotland Neck. Most of the 10,000 or so POWs were German, but 3,000 Italians were held at Camp Butner and its satellite facilities.

In all, four U-boats were sunk off the North Carolina coast: the U-352, the U-85, the U-701 and the U-576, whose wreck was only discovered in 2014. There were no survivors from the U-85 or U-701. Seven survivors from the U-701 were rescued by a Coast Guard float plane, after floating in a life raft for two days, and were taken to Norfolk, Va.

U-352 survivors eating lunch at Fort Bragg.

U-352 survivors eating lunch at Fort Bragg. [COURTESY US NAVY]

User-contributed question by:
olivia herring

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