The Author

The Author Sir William Stephen Richard King-Hall, Baron King-Hall of Headley (1893 - 1966) was educated at Lausanne, Switzerland, and at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth. He fought in the First World War with the Grand Fleet, serving on HMS Southhampton, and with the 11th Submarine Flotilla. He was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Institute of International Affairs for his 1920 thesis on submarine warfare. During the Second World War, he served in the Ministry of Aircraft Production as Director of Factory Defence. In 1944 he founded and chaired the Hansard Society to promote parliamentary democracy. He was created Baron King-Hall in 1966.

The First Edition: Diary of a U-Boat Commander

This book was first published under the title Diary of a U-boat Commander. The author was identified only by the pseudonym Etienne. The book purported to be the personal diary of Karl von Schenk, commander of U122. The date of publication of this edition is unknown. The title page of the original edition, published by Hutchinson & Co., gives no date; and Random House, the present owners of Hutchinson, have no date on record. It was no doubt published soon after the war, perhaps in 1919. The U-boat Diaries Though the book is not the personal record of a German u-boat officer named Karl von Schenk, it is, in fact, at least in part based on written records found in one of the u-boats. In a letter dated March 19th. 2011, the Hon Mrs. Barraud (Jane King-Hall), a daughter of Baron King-Hall, wrote the editor of the current edition: “My father, when in the Royal Navy, had to control the surrendered u-boats at Harwich. In one of them he found diaries of the commander, and the Admiralty told him to throw them into the sea. But he took them home and had the idea of writing a novel...He had to use the nom de plume Etienne, because naval officers were not permitted to publish.”

Under Enemy Eyes

Under Enemy Eyes keeps the diary form of the original, but the voice of Etienne, intruding occasionally to explain something technical, has been eliminated, and his remarks have been incorporated into the narrative, thus better serving the expectations of a novel. The long letter from Zoë to her lover, which constitutes the latter portion of the original story, and which is supposed to have been found in the diary’s pages, has been incorporated into the narrative in the same way as has Etienne's commentary. Therefore, the last part of the book has been partially rewritten. Spelling, and sometimes language, have been brought in line with current Canadian usage. Otherwise, Under Enemy Eyes keeps to the wording of the original, and especially so where the operations of the boat are concerned.

The Inspiration for Zoë

While Baron King-Hall was writing his novel, he would have had in mind two notorious cases of women, both in their forties, tried and executed for aiding the enemy. The Frisian courtesan and exotic dancer Mata Hari was shot by the French in October 1917 on the charge of spying for Germany. She was a double agent, recruited first by France, then by Germany. Though the spying she did was likely very minor, the French accused her of causing the death of at least 50,000 French soldiers. Both sides in the war were looking for scapegoats to compensate for reverses at the front. The British nurse Edith Cavell, a pioneer of modern nursing in Belgium, was condemned by a German court to die by firing squad for helping allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium. The execution took place in October, 1915. Nurse Cavell is credited with saving the lives of soldiers from both sides. Cavell did not deny the charges. At the time of her execution, she proclaimed, “Patriotism is not enough.”


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