Werner Henke was one of the top U-boat aces of the German Navy during World War II. Ships under his command sunk 25 ships for a total of 157.064 tons and damaged 2 ships for a total of 7.954 tons. Henke was born in 1909 in Rudak and died in 1944 at Fort Hunt, USA.
Wenke's first ship experience was aboard the warship Admiral Scheer followed by a tour aboard the Schleswig-Holstein. His first patrol aboard a U-boat was with Wilhelm Schulz, with U-124 followed by a tour of duty under Johann Mohr.
In 1942, Werner Henke took command of his first and only U-boat, U-515. On his third patrol he amazed his commanders by sinking 8 ships that were a part of the convoy TS 37. The boats were about 90 miles south of Freetown. After returning for replenshiment, Henke was awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knights Cross.
On April 9, 1944, his ship, U-515, was sunk in the mid-Atlantic by bombs and depth charges from the USS Guadalcanal, USS Pope, USS Pilsbury, USS Chatelain, and USS Flaherty. (16 crew members were killed and 40 were either wounded or captured).
Werner Henke was shot and killed while trying to escape the interrogation center at Fort Hunt, Viginia on June 15, 1944. Henke believed that he was going to be placed on trial for war crimes and tried to escape to get away. Some people 1 think that Henke walked right to the fence in broad daylight to make a sucide run. When he didn't stop after the guards told him to, they shot him.
After hearing of the death, Admiral Karl Dönitz released the following day-order:
Commander Kapitänleutnant Werner Henke , recipient of the Knights Cross with Oak Leaves to the Iron Cross, was killed during an attempt to escape from captivity. We have lost one of our best. He combined reckless daring with prudence and outstanding tactical ability. He proved himself against convoys, independent merchantmen and warships, and sinking 26 ships for a total of 166,000 tons, one cruiser and one destroyer. We strike the colors for a man of iron and a brave fighter, who was an inspiring example to his crew, and for a good comrade. The struggle against the enemy, in which he was killed, will continue. 2
Henke is buried in the Soldiers Cemetery
at Fort George G. Meade
1. Taken from http://uboat.net/men/henke.htm
2. Taken from http://uboat.net/men/henke.htm
Other information was taken from http://u505.dnsdata.com/u515.htm