Herbert Ernst Otto 'Harry' Pustkuchen

Born: 28th December, 1889

Died: 12 June 1917

Commander of UBoats in the German Navy.

Compiled by

Tim Law

(January 1997), with the assistance of

Juergen Schlemm

Other references include 'Chronicon - the family of Pustkuchen' by O.E. Pustkuchen (dec), Narrogin, Western Australia 1988. Initial assistance was from the huge WW11 UBoat site maintained by Gummi.

Commander Harry's cousin, Paula Scotland - (Tim Law's grandmother) was a victim of another UBoat when her ship, the Arabia was sunk on it's journey from Fremantle, Western Australia to England in 1916. 



An International Incident
On March 24, 1916 Oberleutnant zur See Pustkuchen in UB 29 torpedoed without warning the French cross-Channel steamer Sussex (1,353 tons) off Dieppe. The steamer managed to reach port, but there were fifty fatalities, including some of twenty-five U.S. citizens on board. The submarine has not been seen, and the german suggestion that the Sussex might have been damaged by a mine was disproved after fragments of a torpedo were found in one of the lifeboats.

In his limited view trough the periscope, Pustkuchen had assumed the passengers crowding the Sussex's decks were troops. .....

The young officer had plunged his government into a major diplomatic crisis, for the Sussex incident seemed a direct challenge to President Wilson, and on 20 April the United States delivered what amounted to an ultimatum, threatening to sever diplomatic relations if the Germans did not abandon their present methods against passenger and freight carrying vessels. 

A Naval history of World War I,
Paul G. Halpern,
United Sates Naval Institute, 1994



An Adventurer
This story is from the family records

'Chronicon - the family of Pustkuchen' by O.E. Pustkuchen (dec), Narrogin, Western Australia 1988


We have a family picture or Eduard Pustkuchen's children, in which Albrecht's brother, Herbert Ernst Otto 'Harry' Pustkuchen, is a boy in a sailor suit. He was born on 28th December, 1889. He was a first Lieutenant of the Sea. He lost his life in the first World War, on a submarine off England in 1917.

Many years later we came across a book by Thomas, an English writer and translater, which recorded the exploits of the famous Captain of the Sea, Adler Baron von Leichner. He was a swashbuckling type of man with a wide fund of stories of the sea. In it he records the story of a Lieutenant Pustkuchen.

The story is about a fake battleship used by the British as a decoy. Lieutenant Pustkuchen, in command of a submarine, sighted that fake battleship, and was going to attack it, when he noticed the mines.

The tide was very low, and they could be seen. He dived overboard with a steel saw. Then he swam under water to the wire that held the mine anchored, and cut the wire so the mine drifted away. That opened a small gap in a minefield, enough to provide a safe hole for the U Boat. He lay waiting for the false battleship to come within torpedo shot. It came down the path quite near. It was near enough for him to see through his periscope that it was a sham.

'By Jove' he thought. They saw his periscope in there among the mines, but what could they do? Destroyers came down one path, but they did not dare venture among the mines, to run him down. He lay there quite safely, braving all the navy the British wanted to bring up. When it was dark he stole out and made away safely.

Back in port he told about the fake battleship, and gave a good description so that every commander would know it when he saw it. That was the end of the usefulness of the sham battleship.

No doubt Harry was remembered by his family - a sad casualty of War. 



The UBoat Commander
He died on 12 June 1917 at 12.00 hours with UC-66 by depth charges from British trawler 'Sea King' (Position 49.56N, 05.10W). This is off Plymouth in the English Channel off the South West corner of England, near to France.

He commanded in WW I three boats :

UC-5 ,

UB-29 and


UB-29 was a small boat and only on patrol in the North Sea (2nd U-Flotilla Flandern (Bruegge))

UC-5 was sunked in April 1916 (Pustkuchen left the boat earlier to take over a new command)

UC-66 was taken into commision on 16 November 1916 under Oblt. Pustkuchen and built by Blohm & voss in Hamburg. It was usual that the new crew was some weeks earlier on the boat (Baubelehrung) 



Alist of WWI U-boats sunk around the British coast during 1914-18.


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