Biography of a young German
Biography written by Manfred Kühn
My father: Kuhn Alfred, Hans, Heinrich…
Last name : KÜHN
First names: Alfred, Hans, Heinrich.
Born June 8, 1923 in Leipzig, Germany.
Son of KÜHN Max and SCHÜTZ Johanna
Religion : Protestant
Christened on 20 July 1924 in Leipzig
At the age of 14 he was an apprentice in concrete construction. After the war he was a miner at the H.B.L. in Merlebach, then a warehouse keeper at Michelin in Germany, and finally at Ford in Bordeaux.
Residence : The last address is : 19 Jean Jaurès Street in Carbon-Blanc 33560 France.
He died on December 21, 1987 in Bordeaux, France. He was buried in Carbon-Blanc on December 28, 1987 at 2:45 pm.
Married on 18 February 1948 in Berneuil en Charente (France) with Mademoiselle BRANGIER Jacqueline, born on 29 March 1922 in Berneuil en Charente. Their children Kühn Manfred and Kuhn Roseline.
Alfred attended elementary school from the age of 6 to 14.
When he was little, he was already thinking about the Navy. In the photo Alfred is the little boy, in a dark sailor’s outfit, in front of the teacher. Here is also on a picture of his first day of school in 1931.
In Germany, the tradition at the time was that at the beginning of the first day of school, the schoolboy received a cone as a surprise.
Here he is seen on a picture taken with a 15/16 year old friend. My father is on the right.
From 1929 to 1937, young Alfred was a student.
The working world
At 14, at the end of March 1937, he started an apprenticeship mixing concrete until December 1938. On June 1, 1938, he entered the working world, and with a six-month contract, he worked in 1939, 1940 and 1941 in a company mixing concrete. Until 30 June 1941 he was (Bauarbeiter) a construction worker.
This is an example from the 1938 booklet of a worker member for the German front, (Mitgliedsbuch).
Here is an example of a German worker’s booklet from 1938 to 1941. (Arbeitssbuch).
This is an example of a proof of employment contract, stamped by the employer for all weeks worked. At the time, workers were paid semi-annually.
In the German Navy
On 1 July 1941, he was incorporated into the German Navy, after training as a radio operator. He was assigned in the radio transmitting station of Torpedoboot 24, (torpedo boat T24). Below are two pictures of the German Navy Torpedoboat T24 (from Alfred Kühn collection).
Now here are several souvenir photos of my father from 1942 to 1944. On the first one, my father is seen on the right.
Here he is in the centre of the second row.
Next, he is seen on the right with headphones on.
In this one he is in the front row in the centre.
In this one with sailors wearing life jackets he is in the second row on the right.
Again on the right with headphones.
Finally here with flags communicating by semaphore.
The T24 entered service on 17 October 1942 and she was sunk during an aerial bombardment on 24 August 1944.
On the photo taken by the RAF on August 24, 1944, the bombing and destruction of the T24 is seen in the foreground. In the background the Z24 which was part of the same flotilla is also seen.
Anecdote and account of that day on August 24, 1944
Many of the sailors were killed and reported missing during the bombing of the T24. The survivors, including my father, were taken prisoner.
When the other ship, Z24 sank, one of the helmsmen, Mr. Wolff Gehart, was not on watch. He was sleeping in a wheelhouse compartment that was watertight. The wheelhouse was under water: Mr. Gehart’s colleagues, knowing that he was sleeping in the wheelhouse, reacted quickly, and with acoustic blows managed to wake him up and let him know that he was under water and that the vessel was sinking: Mr. Wolff knew that when he opened the wheelhouse door, water would flood it. As they were all experienced seamen, before opening the door that separated him from his friends, he took a deep breath and, when he opened the door, he found himself under water. With the help of his friends, he got out safely, but taken prisoner. He told us about his adventure.
Chapter two in memory of Alfred Kuhn’s friend Kurt Hasebrink.
Previously, on April 26, 1944 the T24 was hit by a shell on the deck, the radio cabin was hit and caught fire, the fire was quickly brought under control, my father was wounded. There are 5 dead, one of my father’s best friends was one of them, a man named KURT HASEBRINK from Stuttgart.
During this fight the T29 was sunk.
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