After the Final Battle
The Rescue Operation
Photo: This photograph shows a sea of heads floating in the oily water just after the Bismarck sank. For some reason the British censor has blotted out most of the faces. Photo: Survivors from the Bismarck struggled to reach the safety of the Dorsetshire. Most of the survivors didn't make it as the Dorsetshire suddenly left the area because of a possible U-boat sighting.

The Dorsetshire was ordered to pick up survivors, so the heavy cruiser slowly sailed into the mass of humanity in the water where the Bismarck went down. Ropes were thrown over the side for the survivors to climb up, with the assistance of the British seamen. The Dorsetshire had taken on board 86 German sailors, and the destroyer Maori had picked up another 25 sailors when suddenly there was a submarine alert. The Dorsetshire immediately got underway followed by the Maori, leaving hundreds of survivors behind, some still clinging to the ropes along her side before they dropped off. The reasonableness of leaving the area depends most likely on the eyes that sees it, but the abrupt departure of the British ships sounded the death knell for nearly all of the several hundred German survivors left behind in the water.

Photo: Captain on Dorsetshire, Benjamin Martin (right), that took the decission of leaving hundreds of German sailors in the water.

The Rescue Operation
The Story of Joe Brooks
A Bismarck crew member, whose arms had been blown off, somehow managed to reach Dorsetshire and tried to grab a line in his teeth. On Dorsetshire, Midshipman Joe Brooks climbed over the side in an attempt to get a bowline around him. But the ship began to move forward and Brooks lost him, only barely managing to climb back on bord himself. The Captain on Dorsetshire, Benjamin Martin, promptly put Brooks under arrest for leaving the ship without permission and had him confined to his cabin.

Later the German submarine U-74 rescued three more sailors. The next day, the German weather ship Sachsenwald rescued two more. Out of her total complement of 2221 men, there were 115 survivors.

Photos: Bismarck survivors landed in Scotland.

On 30 May 1941, the Dorsetshire landed her Bismarck survivors at Newcastle and the Maori landed hers at a base on the river Clyde. From there, the survivors went to London for interrogation, and they were then sent to sit out the war in prisoner of war camps.

The Discovery of the Bismarck
Photo: Dr. Robert Druce Ballard.
The man that found the Bismarck.

8 June 1989, the wreck of the Bismarck was discovered at a depth of 4,700 meters (15,700 feet) by Robert Ballard.

Painting: Ken Marschall. Based on video recordings of the wreck.

Painting: Ken Marschall. Based on video recordings of the wreck.