Romanian Armed Forces
in the Second World War
Home + Organization + OoB + Aeronautics + Weapons + Decorations
Military Operations + Generals + Memoirs, Journals + Media + WW1 + Forum
Romana English
Memoirs and diaries
General Iosif Teodorescu - Operative memoir on the last fights preceding the fall of Odessa
2nd Lieutenant Constantin Nicolescu - Campaign Diary
Lieutenant Simion Iuga - Campaign Diary
Sergeant Manole Zamfir - War memories
Sergeant Sandu Aurel - War memories
Ion Neculai Agiu - medic on the submarine Delfinul
Lieutenant Colonel I. Chermanescu - In Russia. Campaign Notes 16 September 1942 – 3 January 1943
Col. (rez.) Constantin Iancu - War memories
Sergeant Nicolae Neag - Wartime memories
Soldier Traian Giurgelea - memories from Moldavia
Sergeant Aurel Tucra - frontline recollections
Octavian Hosu - officer school student recollections
2nd lieutenant Grigore Dobos, 2nd Tank Regiment, Bratislava, Slovakia - Diary
Soldier Cucu Nicolae - memories about the Battle of Paulis
Ion Neculai Agiu - medic on the submarine Delfinul
Ion Neculai Agiu, sailor on NMS Constanta.
Crew members of the submarine Delfinul. Ion Agiu is in the center of the group, behind the captain.
Sight from Fiume (Italy), where the submarine Delfinul was built.
Letters written by Neculai Agiu from Fiume, Italy.
Navy Days at Constanta. In background: the depot ship NMS Constanta.
Delfinul submarine arriving in Romania.
Note: The text was compiled from the memories of Stefan Hadjiu of the stories his grandfather, Ion Necolai Agiu, medic on board the NMS Delfinul submarine used to tell. He passed away in 2000.

Ion Neculai Agiu (Hadjiu Ivan Nicolaevici, according to the Soviet passport) was born in Barta village, Izmail county. He was persecuted by the communists after the war and had to leave his natal village, settling in Vadul lui Isac village, Cahul county, in Bessarabia, where he lived for the rest of his life.

Ion Agiu started his service in the Navy on board of NMS Constanta, but he was recruited in the crew of NMS Delfinul submarine from the day it was launched at Fiume, Italy, on 5 May 1936. The crew of the Delfinul was made up of handpicked men. They had to pass many tests: high jumps in water, underwater swimming for long distances, quick mental mathematical calculations etc. At Navy Days, the crew was present to demonstrate their extraordinary skills (photo).

In the Black Sea, the Delfinul was one of the ships that created a lot of problems for the Soviet fleet (the Chernomorsky Flot). The captain was courageous and determined man, who could take quick decisions, like when they opened fire with the gun on a surfaced Soviet submarine (in July 1941). His saying was : "Determined as the lion, deceiving as the fox and cautious as the cat". This is why the Delfinul managed to survive over one year of war.

Ion Agiu was the crew's medic, but he took part at all the military maneuvers, like the rest of the sailors. He had an important place on the ship, as he tended the crew's health. The captain had to call off the mission, whether he declared quarantine. He was in very good relations with the captain, who also liked him very much. The captain had serious heart problems, and Ion Agiu saved his life no less than five times.

Life aboard the submarine was tough. The sailors' feet were always swollen and bruised from the metal stairs they had to climb constantly. When they had to make emergency dives, the entire crew ran through the ship's compartments in the diving direction. The crew lived under pressure, the noise of keel touching a bank of sand causing inability to sleep. The meal aboard the submarine was good, consisting of meat, exotic fruits, German and Italian jam. One did not ask questions aboard the ship, only executed the orders. They had an iron discipline. If the captain slapped a sailor, he had to turn the other cheek right away. But on land, they were allowed to have more fun than the other services, to relieve the stress. Many of times they caused scandals in the bars and restaurants they entered.

After Delfinul's last mission (in July 1942), the ship entered general repairs because of the damages suffered from the explosion of many depth charges around it. Ion Agiu said it was a real nightmare. During the "cat and mouse" game with the Soviet destroyers, the sailors sweat abundantly. Because of the underwater explosions, inside the ship bulbs and pipes broke, instruments malfunctioned and they had to repair all of these at open sea. In those moments all they could think about was to return home safely.

Ion Agiu was then transferred to another ship: the Alba Iulia. During April 1944, Alba Iulia took part in the evacuation of German and Romanian military in Crimea. On 18 April 1944, 1220 hours, four Soviet bombers attacked the ship, followed at 1237 hours by other five bombers. One of the bombs fell in the side of the ship, causing a hole below the waterline, while another bomb hit the magazine in front of the command deck. In the same time, the aircraft machinegunned the decks full of soldiers. The sailors started to fight with the water, plucking the hole with bags of wool. The ship leaned on one side and, in the panic that occurred, the captain ordered the men to abandon the ship. At the rescue of the sailors and soldiers in water came Ghiculescu gunboad and two German R-Boot. In the area the destroyer Marasti was maneuvering, but it could not approach due to danger of air and submarine attacks. The water was very cold and the rescue boat was a long distance away. Ion Agiu jumped into the water with his sailor woolen coat on him. It was quickly filled with water and started to pull him down. He had to make his way through the bodies which had risen to the surface of the water face down and in the same time to defend himself from the living who were desperately grabbing on him and cried out for their mothers, wives or children. He was in a very good physical shape and being a sea dog from the Delfinul, he was among the few that made it to safety. He climbed up the rope, but when he got up he did not have enough strength to rise over the board. He thought that it was the end. He looked down and beneath him on the rope there was a German sailor that told him to put his foot on his shoulder. With this help he was able to get on board. But when he turned to help his comrade, he wasn't anymore on the rope. He had fallen in the water and did not surface again. When he was swimming in the ice-cold water he prayed to God and promised that if he got away he would serve Him. Thus, after the war ended he became a preacher. The Alba Iulia did not sink. Abandoned to the waves for one day, it was towed by the destroyer Regele Ferdinand to Constanta.

He returned to Bessarabia after it had been annexed by the Soviet Union. Ion Agiu remained until the end of his life an enemy of the Communists, whom he never feared. He preserved his language and could not be Russified, like many Romanians there, except in his Soviet IDs, remaining faithful to the flag and King he had served.

User Comments Add Comment
agiu ionel jan  (12 May 2010)
suntdin izbiceni olt romania  ,si stramosi mei au fost din pprin constanta ma gandesc ca am avea o legatura de rudenie cu dr agiu ion neculai.

Mariana  (22 September 2008)
Buna!DE mult timp urmaresc aceste comentarii.Pot afla cine este Stefan Hadjiu?Eu sunt din Barta,dar numele de Stefan cunosc, la noi la moment nu este.

Damian Hincu  (27 August 2008)
Multstimate Stefan Hagiu,

 Sunt un student basarbean din Orhei si studiez de citiva ani dreptul la Lyon in Franta.
 Am fost  profund miscat de istoria submarinului "Delfinul" .

  As vrea ca aceasta istorie sa fie cunoscuta intregii lumi intr-un film documentar sau artistic.
  Ca urmas al lui Mihalcea Hincu , ma gindesc mereu la drama basarabenilor din Basarabia Veche si Bucovina,care ramine necunoscuta opiniei publice din Europa si America.
  Am studiat in SUA si studiez in Franta,cunosc bine engleza si franceza,astfel as putea traduce scenariile si cererile de finantare  la marile studiouri de cinema.
  Trebuie sa miscam carul din loc!

   Cu mult respect
Damian Hincu

Alexandru  (27 March 2008)
Stimate Stefan Hadjiu, 

am citit cu mare placere articolul "Ion Neculai Agiu - medic pe submarinul Delfinul", o data ce am fost nascut tot in comuna Barta, judetul Ismail (actual satul Plavni, raionul Reni, regiunea Odesa, Ucraina). Mi-ar face o deosebita placere sa comunicam. Tot o data, vreau sa ma multsumesc mult pt un asa articol interesant. 
Nu shtiu daca mai tsinetsi legatura cu careva din rudele dv de la Barta. Eu am fost la Barta ultima oara in anul trecut. Cu toate ca satul acum e in Ucraina, in scoala se preda tot in romana. Biserica e in romana, shi peste tot se vb tot in romana. Numai ca limba romana din sat nu s-a mai dezvoltat prea mult, ci mai degraba s-a conservat. Asa ca acum, poti auzi multe cuvinte in sat care in limba romana de ceva timp se socot deja arhaizme. 

Sper sa mai comunicam.

Toate cele bune,

Alexandru Ghetsoi

Stefan Hadjiu  (9 February 2008)
Bunelul deasemeni era responsabilul de Hdrofon, sonar, radiou, majoritatea medicilor pe U-boot in acele timpuri erau si urechile submarinului. El primea mesajele radio si le dadea capitanului. Informatia am aflat-o mai tirziu de la fatele tatalui, cel mai mare feceor al bunelului.

Stefan Hadjiu  (20 January 2008)
Un mic supliment la articol. Bunelul meu Ion Neculae Agiu care era medicul pe N.M.S. "Delfinul" cind era vorba de manevre militare dupa ce era anuntata alarma locul lui la postul de lupta era hidrofonul. Hidrofonul era o roata, care rotind-o dintr-o parte in alta bunelul asculta in casca vibratiile inamicului care erau transmise de elicea vapoarelor prin apa. Astfel el gasea pozitiea, distanta si gradul unghiului. Apoi dupa toate aceste date se calcula viteza, distantca, pozitiea si stiind viteza torpilei se calcula unghiul de intilnire si ciocnire a torpilei cu inaicul. Deasemeni bunelul stiea foarte bine astronomiea. Eram mic si cindc eseam afara seara cu el, imi arata pe cer diferite constelatii si i-mi lamurea cum ma pot orienta dupa stele daca busola sa defectat. Dupa cum intelejeti marinarii de pe "Delfinul" erau nu numai niste barbati curajosi dar si destul de intelijenti si pregatiti in diferite domenii stiintifice. Matematica, astronomie, jeometrie, fizica...Si pe linga toate acestea mai erau si foarte bine educati avind o cultura nobila. Asa a ramas bunelul meu pina la adinci batrinete si toata lumea care i-a cunoscut caracterul totdeauna au fost miscata si mirata de personalitatea lui si de felul lui de a fi! Sint sigur c acest caracter era caracteristic pentru toti acei care au facut serviciul pe aceasta nava! Glorie si Respect EROILOR!

webmaster  (7 May 2005)

Stefan Hagiu  (23 March 2005)
Directia spre Nord

    Mi-aduc aminte-ntruna imi amintesc bunelu
    Lupta pentru dreptate pe bravul submarin
    Da ordin capitanul si flutura drapelul
   - Alinierea drepti, corsarii pe Delfin!
    Sintem in largul marii,  tarmul e departe
    Si valurile-s mari, furtuna e in toi
    Sta inamicu-n fata lupilor de mare
    Lanseaza-n plin torpila grea masina de razboi!
        Asa va este viata, asa va e destinul
        Sa fiti barbati alesi in garda cea de fier
        Coboara periscopul si spre adinc Delfinul
        Se-ndreapta-n bezna marii cosmarul de otel
        Voi nu cunoasteti frica si moartea nu va pasa
        Sinteti in fata lumii adevarati eroi
        E scufundat dusmanul, ce l-ati trecut prin coasa
        Si nu va este mila e timpul de razboi!

 Refren    E Delfinul, e submarinul
           Groaza in marea neagra cu 40 de lupi la bord
           E Delfinul, e submarinul
           Si misiunea urmatoare-i - Directia spre Nord!

        Voi nu stiati minciuna, vorbeati doar adevarul
        Si cind spuneati o vorba, priveati direct in ochi
        Asa e disciplina, asa e marinarul, asa va e natura!
        Sa spargeti valu-n stropi!
        Si-acolo-n asteptare in adincimea neagra
        Explozii de grenade - Antisubmarin!
        Le numarati pe toate si asteptati sa treaca
        Cosmarul subacvatic ce va lovea din plin!
 Refren  ........................................

         Ati stat in adincime aproape o saptamina
         Va respirau plaminii din ce in ce mai greu
         Un medic are grija ce-i tare-n medicina
         Increderea deplina e in bunelul meu
         Si-mi amintesc adesea de-amea copilarie
         Eram slabut si firav, mereu bolnavicios
         Si am avut onoarea sa fiu impuns de tine!
         De medicul-corsar, eroul glorios!!!