OTTO WESTPHALEN (329-1987)
Born 12 March 1920 in Hamburg, OTTO WESTPHALEN was in Naval Academy Class 1938. As with many U-Bootfahrer, he began his time in the Navy on other craft and in his case, he served on the torpedo boat CONDOR. With his transfer to the U-Bootwaffe, OTTO was I.W.O. aboard U-566 then on U-121 in both the North and South Atlantic.
He put U-968 in commission on 18 March 1943 and he was the ‘Old Man‘ at just 23 years of age. He told many humorous stories of how his crewmen would ask him for advice as they would a much older Skipper.
After sinking six ships (three of them destroyers) on war patrols, the war ended and U-968, her Skipper WESTPHALEN and her crew survived, handed over the boat to the British at Loch Eribol on 16 May 1945 and were briefly made prisoners. They were released soon but U-968 was sunk off the NW coast of Ireland in Operation DEADLIGHT.
OTTO WESTPHALEN was one of only 145 U-Bootfahrer to be decorated with the Knights Cross.
He operated the Hotel Stadt Altona in Hamburg for many years and this was our host hotel for many of our Sharkhunters ‘Patrols‘ in North Germany. Sadly, this fine man was stricken with Parkinson’s Disease followed by a couple strokes and so he was forced to give up the hotel.
In addition to our ‘Patrols‘ OTTO gave Sharkhunters the use of his hotel for our interviews that you will find on our ‘TAPES‘ page.
The two Turmabzeichen (tower emblems) on U-968 were colorful and unique.