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Hidden in a fold of Kent countryside,
just thirty miles from London,

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is the home of Britain's wartime leader -
Winston Churchill.

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Casting his mind back over five bloody
and uncertain years,

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he would write that during the war,
only one thing ever frightened him.

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The U-boat peril.

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'Battles might be won or lost,'
Churchill wrote,

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'but our power to fight,
to keep ourselves alive,

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rested on the outcome of the struggle
for control of the Atlantic.'

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lt was one of the longest campaigns
in Naval history.

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Bitterly fought over three million
square miles of hostile ocean.

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When it began, the U-boat didn't seem
to be a peril at all.

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And yet within eighteen months it was able
to take Britain to the brink of defeat.

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ln 1942, this battle for survival
was at its height.

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Those lost fighting it have no grave.
There are only names.

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This series remembers their war.

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At a little before midnight
on October 13th, 1939,

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a lone U-boat slipped
through the line of sunken ships

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that guarded the entrance to one of the
Royal Navy's most important bases.

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U-47 was about to attempt
what the British believed impossible.

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An attack on the Fleet in the safety
of its anchorage at Scapa Flow.

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lts Commander - Gunther Prien -
kept a log of his mission.

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'There are warships anchored inshore.

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We close to a distance of
some three thousand metres.

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We will attack the big one.'

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She was the thirty thousand ton Royal Oak.

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The flagship of the
Second Battle Squadron.

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That night, the Oak was at anchor
at the eastern end of the Flow.

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Most of her crew, twelve hundred men
and boys, were asleep below.

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Suddenly, without any warning at all,

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there was an enormous explosion
right up forwards somewhere.

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lt shook the ship from end to end
and l hopped out of my hammock

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and l told them all to get out
and get dressed

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and they just sort of leaned over
their hammock and said,

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'ah, don't worry about it.'

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We were talking, saying, you know,
'What the Dickens was that?'

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Somebody thought it sounded like
an anti-aircraft gun,

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but nobody really knew.
[...]
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