Didn't want to edit your post Rob, so just copied it and made it a little larger.
Reinbek. Men's swimming for their lives. She desperately grab rope hanging from a lift. Otto Peters has looked at the photo in a magazine from 1952 countless times.From Anne Müller
The inclusion of a British soldier represents the worst hour of his life. On the side he picked Magazine has framed a face with a red pen. It is his. At 22 he has to face with death. "Five yards were between the deck and the icy rough waters - five meters between salvation and destruction," he recalls. Hundreds did not make it on the 27th and remained May 1941 back in the icy Atlantic.
Otto Peters was saved. Today, the native Curslacker lives with his wife Inge (84) in Reinbek, in a small apartment with a view of the wild coupling on the road Sophie. He is one of five surviving witnesses of the sinking of the "Bismarck". Above the dining table in the living room is on a shelf, a small model of the "Bismarck", a large black and white photo of a warship on the wall. Boats and motors have captivated the boy from the same early age. "As a farmer, I did not want to work, bring the animals to the slaughterhouse -. I could not have done" He goes to the Hanseatic Motor Company in Bergedorf, is mechanical engineer. 1939 is convening. In autumn, the training at the Naval Academy in Kiel follows. In May 1940, the machinery corporal is reassigned to the "Bismarck".
"A better command would not happen to me," says Peters. He comes to Hamburg, to his hometown.The task of his division is monitoring the four diesel engines of the E-1 engine room End of August 1940 moves the "Bismarck" to the first test drive in the Baltic Sea. Peters sleeping mat hangs with 119 more in a big mess deck. He feels safe on the then most modern and largest battleship. "It was considered unsinkable, while my father had said then, 'the bigger the ship, the more easily it can be taken,'" the now 92-year-old. The preview of the father's idea to come true. In March 1941, the second test begins in the Baltic Sea. The ship never comes back.
On 19 May runs the battleship "Operation Rhine Exercise" from. For sleeping, the young sailor comes just hours. "On the ship prevailed until the downfall war march state," said Peters. "Four hours guard followed four hours and then return to the vigil Vorwache. Doing so, we were able to put us in a hammock in the living deck. Before the next station," he says. "I was never tired, but still hungry. Our food was very, very bad."
Over the intercom learns Peters on 23 May that the Bismarck had been discovered when breaking through the Denmark Strait. "There was great excitement," he describes the atmosphere on board.Then the announcement: "We take action!" A little later Kills shake the ship. As is known, that the "HMS Hood" was sunk, Peters mood is clouded, "I knew that Hood was the most powerful ship in the British Navy, you would now put it all determined to destroy us.". On the same day attack torpedo planes. A few days later, the steering gear is met and jammed. "Then it transpired that the ship could still only go in circles."
In the stormy night before 27 May 1941 followed by a squadron of British warships, the "Bismarck". At midnight the ship reporting system transmits an address by the Fleet Commander, Admiral Günther Lütjens in all stations. "He has clearly given to understand that there is no escape. Around 4 clock, the English association would have us surrounded," said Peters recalls. He vigil. "I wanted to have really not true and could not imagine that we will go under. I clung to it, that help comes from somewhere already," Peters intelligent blue eyes are clouded by the thought of the night. There is a way out for any of the over 2000 people. "On a warship, there are no lifeboats," said Peters.
He remains at his post eight feet deep in the hull.What he may have felt it retains the graceful senior after 70 years for himself. Admiral Lütjens had ordered to defend the NUC for a torpedo attack ship until the last grenade. From 8.47 clock grenades hit the ship. Otto Peters lucky that the board alarm system is spared in its range of hits. He hears against 10 clock the last command of Admiral Lütjens: "All hands aboard by ship is blown up!"
Peter struggles through ammunition lifts, cable shafts and semi-bound Scots. Again and again the ship is rocked by strikes. It is completely dark everywhere. "We had to feel the outputs." He takes refuge with a group in the battery cover. "I was already standing chest deep in the water." A direct hit beats into the room. "I could not see how many died there." Before a Luk accumulates a mass of people. "We were standing in a row. From the front one by one 'Junak' key screamed. I passed my by."The hatch can be opened, but it is warped. Peters must leave his jacket to get through with the lifejacket.
"All of a sudden it was as bright as day, we could see again., The ship had already flip side," says Peters. He sees many dead. Groups of people swimming in the water. He does not feel fear. "We are so excited." He lies flat on the deck. Tried to cling to. Wind nine lashes on the lake. "In the second breaker I was worn out. My first thought was, I have to leave the ship, so I do not get into the maelstrom."
He is a good swimmer. After a few meters, he looks back. The "Bismarck" rises steeply from the water and slowly sinking with the bow upward. Peters mobilized all its forces. "I was not afraid. Survive and I wanted my mom and see my girl again." He drives about two hours in the sea. "The swim was mechanical. To conserve power, I went several times to the back and let myself drift with my life jacket." The fuel oil from the ship floating on the water, making breathing difficult, penetrating into the mouth, nose and ears. Suddenly he sees a ship silhouette. When he realizes the English flag on the cruiser "Dorsetshire", he thinks only, "it was all over - I was afraid that they're shooting at us."
When he swims closer cautious, he recognizes countless ropes. As one of the first to reach the "Dorsetshire". On the crest of the wave he wants to hang on one of the cables. "I thought it is quite easy, but then I realized that it was only the life jacket that kept me afloat. I hardly had any strength." The high waves propel him up almost to the curb, but also always pull him back from the ship's side off. The fingers are frozen. Again and again, slipping the rope. The third time he wraps it around the thigh.Than the high shaft drives him, he pulls it tight. Two sailors pull him on deck. In the crew he gets a blanket and warm clothing.
"We were treated incredibly fair, like brothers," says Peters. He is grateful to his rescuers today. From 1952 until two years ago there were countless meetings and reunion of the survivors with former enemies. With an Englishman, Bill Keeble, connects him to this day a friendship. But still the war is not over. Amidst the horror wins at least on the "Dorsetshire" humanity. "The English have us well supplied, force-fed gallons of tea for us, until we vomited the many fuel is swallowed. Two did not drink. Did you mean that the English want to poison us," Peters recalls. For this error they have to pay two years later in captivity with their lives.
To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault