Miguel ‘Mike’ Enciso Seiglie, better known as The Lord, received four medals (see below) and a personal honor from King George VI for participating in sinking the German cruiser Admiral Scheer in the port of Kiel, on the night of 9 April 1945.
In August 1942 Enciso departed from Cuba for Toronto and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, where he graduated as a pilot. In January 1944 he arrived in Liverpool, England, receiving the rank of First Lieutenant with the RAF. He flew a Lancaster BX (built by Victory Aircraft in Ontario) in No. 1 Bomb Group and flew missions over Berlin, Nuremberg, Kassel, Manheim and objectives in the Baltic Sea.
On 14 March, a Messerschmitt hit Enciso’s airplane 16 times. In his book ’9050 Horas’ former Cuban Air Force General Del Pino relates the story of Enciso: ‘The bombers flew in close formation to defend ourselves better … seconds later I felt the rattle of my gunner Mark’s machine gun. I recognized him immediately because he had the habit of firing in short bursts at intervals. He was not one to pull the trigger and not let loose, but was a professional with incredible equanimity.
The bomber flying to my right in the formation was hit by another Messerschmitt in one of the engines of the left wing. As we felt the explosion we saw one of the propellors come away from the engine and spin off. There was no doubt that this was the end of the aircraft. However, you always hope that the crew can bail out and survive as POW’s. We were close enough to see the Pilot and Copilot get up from their seats to leave the bomber, but the left wing broke off and the plane began to rotate uncontrollably along its longitudinal axis. Moments later another explosion disintegrated the plane completely. No one was spared.
Events unfolded rapidly and you do not have the time to coordinate well what you do. I flet a blow to the tail of our plane and I thought it might have been some fragment of the other bomber that had exploded. Mark called on the intercom and told me we were hit and that a piece of aluminum tail had embedded in our left side. I no longer heard the characteristic rattle of his firing, so I worried more about that. He said he was bleeding a lot an felt very weak. We had already left the combat zone. The enemy fighters had withdrawn, but it was still a little more than an hour flight. I was constantly calling until I stopped listening about ten minutes before reaching the airfield. When we landed, Mark was dead, had bled to death.
But that was not the worst day, although we lost Mark. A week later, when we bombarded German troops near the city of Kasselnos we were attacked by Focke-Wulf Fw 190′s. This time we did not lose anyone, but the impacts of cannonfire ripped all right landing gear and we had to make an emergency landing upon arrival at the airport. But this time my Tail Gunner shot down one of the German fighters.’
The account of the sinking of Admiral Scheer on April 9, 1945 as told by Mike Seiglie and published in the same book ’9050 Horas’ by General Del Pino: ‘We flew over the port of Kiel about 60 km north of Hamburg when we surprised a German naval grouping. The entire squadron went on the attack of the enemy ships. An infernal Flak barrier stood between us and the enemy… Derek, my Bomb Aimer, told me with astonishing calmness he would indicate the direction to launch the bombs …! “Four degrees to the right, one more degree, another degree, there, there, I have released the bombs… We hit it! We hit it!” he shouted euphoric.We saw several bombs explode on the German cruiser and a blaze lit up the whole sky. A couple of days later we heard we had sunk the cruiser Admiral Scheer. We continued on to Hamburg where we also surprised and attacked the submarines that were moored at the docks.’
[Courtesy Mehdi Schneyders, translation Hans Klootwijk]
On the night of 9 April 1945, a general RAF bombing raid by over 300 aircraft struck the harbor in Kiel. Admiral Scheer was hit by five Tallboy bombs and capsized.
Medals and commendations: The British medal for Enlisted General Service (1939-1945), The medal Liberation of Germany, The French medal Star ‘for conspicuous value and service’ defending that nation, and the Voluntary Service medal from the Royal Canadian Armed Forces. Also he received a personal co-decoration from the King of England, King George VI, for single-handedly sinking a German battleship and thanking him for being a foreigner who risked his life fighting for Great Britain.