Submarine NARHVALEN reported missing (1970):
that started the largest
search and rescue operation in Skagerak, in newer time.
Admiral's Letter to the Relatives
When communication with NARHVALEN was lost, it
needless to say, created worries in many homes.
Commander Admiral Danish Fleet, notified all of
the relatives in a personal letter, which were posted as soon as contact with
NARHVALEN were regained.
By Johnny E. Balsved/translated
by Jakob Dalgaard
Admiral Danish Fleet had, during the night, with
the aid of local police, informed the relatives of crewmembers on board
that all communications with the submarine had been lost.
of course happened because Admiral Danish Fleet, didn't feel that the
relatives should hear about the search through the morning papers or the
news and create anxiety amongst the relatives.
Immediately after contact with
was regained, and the huge search could b cancelled, the Commander Admiral
Danish Fleet, Rear-Admiral
O. Brink-Lund, chose to mail a personal letter to all of the relatives.
what he wrote:
Commander Admiral Danish Fleet
Commander Admiral Danish Fleet
Rear-Admiral O. Brinck-Lund
Europaplads 2, 8ooo Århus C
September 10, 1970
To: the relatives of the crew of
to express my deepest apologies, that I had to disturb You in the middle of the
night, with the message that submarine NARHVALEN could be in trouble.
When an "all is well-signal" wasn't received in due time, we first of
all used all means available to establish contact with NARHVALEN. After an hour,
still without any contact, we started a search with all vessels in vicinity of
the presumed position of NARHVALEN. At the same time, we had several vessels on
standby and ready for action. Since the possibility of the submarine being
surfaced and okay, but not able to use its radios, we asked all civilian traffic
in the area to keep a lookout for the submarine. Since such a request to
civilian traffic, are broadcasted from civilian radio stations, the press was
immediately alerted, and started to call the headquarter for information. If
able, we always wish to inform the relatives first, so they wont have to hear
about it in the news first. Even though, I personally would have preferred not
to alarm You, I thought it right to inform You, when so many others had
information about the situation, and I hope You feel the same way.
present moment, I can't tell You what happened to the radio equipment on board
NARHVALEN, but I ask of You to have no worries based on the incident last night.
I my self has been on board NARHVALEN no more than 3 weeks ago, for a single
night, and I had the opportunity to make myself familiar with the submarine and
its crew. I have of course been around the submarine, along with its officers
and engineers, where we discussed its capabilities, and there is no doubt in my
mind that this submarine is the best submarine we’ve ever had in the Danish
Navy. Based on that, our assessment last night was that the submarine wasn’t
in any real danger, and a natural reason for the missing contact could be found.
It is however a standard, even in our almost daily rescue operations, to act on
the facts at hand, and rather put to much effort in the matter than to little. I
sincerely hope that you agree with me on this issue, and hope that it also
comforts You to see how swift and correct all units, even foreign units,
involved in the situation has acted.
assume that you will hear more about the events of the night from your relative
on board NARHVALEN, and as I once more apologizes for any harm done, I send You
my kindest regards.
Signed O. Brinck-Lund
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Danske Søofficerer 1933-1982, edited by
S. E. Pontoppidan and J. Teisen,
published by Søe-Lieutenant-Selskabet,
Flådens skibe og fartøjer 1945-1995, by
Gunnar Olsen and Svenn Storgaard, Marinehistoriske
skrifter, Copenhagen 1998 (ISBN 87-87720-13-2)
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Submarine NARHVALEN reported missing