They stood on opposite sides of the war as sworn enemies. The U-boat captain and the maritime pilot sent to destroy each other.
Yet Dudley Marrows was the kind of man who would not only spare his enemies. He would befriend them.
During World War II, Mr Marrows had piloted anti-submarine Sunderland flying boats with the RAAF's 10 and 461 Squadron.
Over the Bay of Biscay near Spain, in July 1943, he was involved in a coordinated attack of three German U-boats. Mr Marrows' aircraft launched a successful attack on the similarly named U-461 submarine.
As it sunk, Mr Marrows' aircraft flew low and spotted survivors of the U-boat flailing in the water.
"Some of the crew were drowning," said Marrows' Wagga-residing niece, Helen O'Connell.
Peter Jensen was the wireless operator onboard the Sunderland.
He recalled in his memoirs the "violent evasive action" that led to "shrapnel rattling on the hull like hail" as the aircraft sustained extensive flak damage.
Despite the dire position his own crew was in the crew unanimously decided to rescue the survivors. They threw out their raft.
"They put themselves in danger to save their enemy," Ms O'Connell said. "[The] German submariners made it home safely because of that decision."
While 53 members of the U-boat crew perished, 15 survived.
Flight officer Jensen was the last surviving member of the Sunderland crew. He died days before his 100th birthday in April 2021.
Many of his wartime memories he relayed to his daughter, Prue Anthony.
"The submarines all had guns drawn when Dudley flew down, just above the water. He came in diagonally over the supply submarine, it was important they sunk that one," Ms Anthony said.
"They saw the men and the metal churning in the water, it was a shocking scene. They put themselves in danger to save them, if they'd needed that dinghy themselves before they'd got back, they'd have been in strife."
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The captain of that U-boat was Wolfgang Stiebler, a man who would be introduced to Mr Marrows 40 years later and who would become a close personal friend until the captain's death in 1991.
"It's a beautiful human story, it shows that even [during] war, we're all still human," said Ms O'Connell. "It was a beautiful chapter of a long war story."
Their meeting came about in 1987, a year after Mr Marrows' wife, Silvia, had tracked down the U-boat captain while traveling in Germany.
In an article published soon after their meeting, the 80-year-old German described coming face-to-face with the man who had saved his life.
"I looked in his eyes, and saw a friend," Mr Stiebler said.
Speaking candidly of the rescue in an article printed by The Canberra Times in December 1987, Mr Marrows said that despite the position of the Allies in 1943, he would never have made a different decision.
"I look back on it now and I know that my conscience would not have rested if we had not done what we could to give them a chance to survive," Mr Marrows said.
"But some people did say a few things to me later because, at the time, the U-boat effort had nearly brought England to her knees."
Two months after his daring rescue of the German submariners in 1943, Mr Marrows' crew witnessed their own peril.
Over the Atlantic, Mr Marrows was forced to ditch the Sunderland at sea after a routine patrol turned into a confrontation with six German fast-bombers.
Cold, cramped, and exposed to their enemies, the 11 members of the Sunderland crew sat in a single dinghy for 18 hours until a passing Catalina came to their rescue.
In years to come, Peter Jensen would relay the events of that day to his daughter.
"They were a tight-knit crew. They worked as a team and they returned [to Australia] because of it," Ms Anthony said.
"Dudley always said, his goal was to bring them home and he did. I think 80 men from the 461 Squadron were lost, and 20 aircraft were lost [in the war], but everyone from Dudley's crew made it home."
Mr Marrows' daughter, Marilyn Marrows Voullaire met the Stiebler, the German captain in Munich a year after he had met her father.
"He was reserved [and] had a reasonable grasp of English but it wasn't always easy to communicate," Ms Marrows Voullaire said.
While in the Bavarian countryside, Ms Marrows Voullaire recalls, Mr Stiebler was gentlemanly and generous.
"He was so much the host. He refused to allow us to pay for meals or accommodation, or entry costs," she said.
Growing up on his citrus estate, her father's passion for local politics, the environment, and agriculture dominated Ms Marrows Voullaire's memories.
But, she recalls few occasions when her father would speak of those war years.
"He started the citrus farm from scratch after the war with his older brother Jack on the smell of an oily rag," Ms Marrows Voullaire said.
"He was an accountant by trade. That's what he had trained to do before he went into the militia and then into the airforce. He had no formal training in agriculture."
He turned the Mildura farm into a winning enterprise, despite setbacks. In 1956 floods rendered his hard work to nothing and forced him to start again.
Towards the end of his life, Ms Marrows Voullaire had more opportunity to hear from her father about all that he had done in the war.
"It was really only after Mum died in 2010 that he really spoke more about it," Ms Marrows Voullaire said.
"My husband and I would take Dad to Bendigo to see his older brother, Jack. In the car, he'd be relaxed and he'd reminisce about his life, where he grew up, how tough it was during The Depression, and about his RAAF experiences."
Hearing the exceptional stories about her father and his brother Keith, who also served, Ms Marrows Voullaire encouraged her father to document it all.
He eventually produced a 90-page handwritten memoir exploring all he went through before, during, and after the war.
"There was so much that happened in his life, our lives are relatively simple by comparison," Ms Marrows Voullaire said.
"He used to say he'd get a lot of recognition for the six years he spent in the war, but he packed a lot into the 60 years after the war. He'd say 'shouldn't that time count for more?'"
Working alongside her cousin to piece together the story, Ms O'Connell can now recite the tale with ease. During her 40 years as a primary school teacher, she would tell the story to her students every Anzac Day.
But long before she became aware of his war history, Ms O'Connell knew her uncle was exceptional.
"He was always my hero," she said.
"He used to joke, he'd shake your hand and he'd say, 'you're shaking the hand that shook the Queen's'," Ms O'Connell recalled.
It was a statement she did not fully understand until much later.
"I was always with Uncle Dudley and Aunt Silvia when I was a young child. I was always an outside kid. He grew citrus, cantaloupes, and pumpkins and I loved the tractor, I wouldn't get off it," she said.
"When we were young kids, [the war] was never mentioned. I think I saw him in a photo in his uniform, but I didn't ask, he didn't speak about it."
Mr Marrows' valiant career saw him awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Distinguished Service Order during the war.
In 2013, he was able to count himself among the most highly-decorated RAAF maritime pilots in the nation's history after he was awarded the French Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.
After his death on March 11, 2019, the Dudley Marrows Memorial Trophy was set up to keep the memory of his sacrificial labours alive.
The trophy is awarded annually to the member of the 10 Squadron RAAF who displays the "integrity, initiative, courage and compassion" first demonstrated by its namesake.
In light of the pandemic, the first presentation of the award was delayed to January 21, 2021. The second will take place later this year.
"He would have been amazed, he'd have been chuffed about it," his daughter said.
"I was delighted when [Warrant Officer] Hayden Inwood first asked me about setting it up. Dad would have also been a bit embarrassed about it.
"He wasn't the sort of person to seek recognition, but it would have made him proud."
Aside from the memory of his wartime heroics, those who knew Dudley Marrows in peacetime speak of his towering generosity and humility.
A well-loved and respected man to all, but mostly to those who were fortunate enough to know the man behind the medals.
"I miss him. His generation is nearly all gone and our generation is going too," Ms O'Connell said.
"We have to keep their stories, we have to keep telling them."
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