A brass propeller from the first U-Boat to be sunk a century ago has been given back to the country it belongs to, the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) reported.
The propeller from the German World War I submarine U-8 was handed over by the MCA to members of the current Navy during a handover ceremony on the German Naval vessel Karlsruhe in the Portsmouth Naval Base.
The propeller, recovered along with other historical items following a number of seizures of illegally recovered dive artifacts in the Kent area in 2014, came into the care of the U.K.’s Receiver of Wreck, Alison Kentuck, but is now returned to its original owner.
Head of Coastal operations for the MCA, Charles Ball, said, “This shows how times have changed. We can transfer this historical artifact back to our friends, not just in commemoration of the sacrifices suffered by both nations, but also in celebration of what we have achieved since then.”
Jan Hackstein, the German Naval Attaché, said, “It is a wonderful sign of reconciliation and friendship between the United Kingdom and Germany that the propeller returns after hundred years.”
“We are proud of our close working relationship with the Maritime Coastguard Agency and are pleased to have played our part in ensuring the return of an important historical artifact,” said PC Preston Frost of Kent Police’s Rural Task Force. “We will continue to investigate anyone suspected of stealing items from sunken wrecks and bring prosecutions against them when appropriate.”
U-8 sank five British merchant ships in her short World War I career before being lost herself in March 1915. All four officers and 25 crew were taken prisoner with no loss of life.