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Naval Photos and Memorabilia, 1871-1945

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Original photo, around 1900-1905 (?) of a group of Sailors on board the S.M.S. Baden. On the original photo you can just about make out the ship's name on some of the capbands, and on the lifebelt. Over the capband is only the Reichskokarde. They are equipped with the old M.1871/84 rifle and the long Hirschfänger M.1865, which were originally intended for the Jäger Bataillons. Each man is wearing a single cartridge box M.1894 and long boots without any nails or heel irons. They also have a machinegun, an early forerunner of the MG 08.

Under the picture is a pencil inscription Hr. Sietas, just under the sailor seated to the right of the lifebelt. Sietas is also the name of a famous firm with ships wharfs in Hamburg and elsewhere.

The first SMS Baden, Panzerschiff, an armoured cruiser, was built and commissioned in 1880, until later replaced. It was followed by a new building, 1913-1915. The new "Baden" did not see any notable action during WW1, and was used for returning embarking crews from Scapa Flow in 1919. As with many others, it was scuttled in Scapa Flow in June 1919. The British were able to salvage it and towed it into shallower waters, later using it as a "Zielschiff" for artillery practice. It sank southwest of Portsmouth to a depth of 170 metres.


A cap tally from the Linienschiff SMS "Kaiser Wilhelm II." - black silk with golden metalic thread.

A further photo shows a Royal Navy cap tally from WW1 of H.M:Submarine E.11, gilded metallic thread, now faded.

and an example from WW2 of the standard H.M.S. tally without ships name, this is in unissued condition.


S.M.S. stands for Seine Majestäts Schiff


A further photo shows a deck crew from S.M.S.Beowulf (Panzerschhiff IV.Klasse) in 1894. Some of the capbands are legible in the photo, the name on the lifebelt can be clearly seen. Four officers can be seen in the picture. This ship was completed at the Bremer Werft in November 1890. The "Beowulf" was first under the command of Kapitän zur See Prinz Heinrich von Preußen, a brother of the Kaiser. In June 1892 the ship took part in the "Flottenparade", in the presence of Kaiser Wilhelm II. and Tsar Alexander III. of Russia, followed by an inspection by the Majesties. Undergoing a series of repairs and modernisation, the ship was reactivated on 12th August 1914 and saw service in the coastal defence (North Sea) in 1915. Seeing only minor service for the rest of the war, the Beowulf was struck from the list of (remaining) active ships in June 1919 and broken up at Danzig in 1921

Foto of the "Beowulf" from the archive of Foto Atelier Mercedes Riedel in Wandsbek.












S.M.S. Baden


S.M.S. Beowulf (Photostudio Mercedes Riedel, Wandsbek)


A photo of the "Beowulf"


A group of stokers of the Imperial Navy, serving 1911 - 1914. Cap bands with ships name not clearly legible - "SMS Hohenzollern" (?)
Hohenzollern was the Kaiser's Yacht (of which there were 3 successive buildings, 3rd started in 1914, never finished, broken up in 1923)
(Photostudio Mercedes Riedel, Wandsbek)

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A postcard depicting the Kaiser as Großadmiral der Kaiserlichen Marine. As a Majesty, he was entitled to wear any uniform of His Army or His Fleet, which he created.
Quite seldom to find are pictures of the Kaiser in naval uniform, although much favouring seafaring, knowing that this was a "must" for Germany's future - "Seefahrt ist Not, denn ohne das Meer, kann Deutschland nicht leben..." (Gorch Fock).

The postcard was written and sent as "Feldpost" to a recipient in Bamberg and dated - Belheim, 18.10.14





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Parole - Heimat: The U-Boot poster, as posted in another topic. This would date from some time around August 1917. It bears a facsimile signature of Hindenburg, stating: Der U-Bootkrieg wirkt besser als jedes Friedensangebot. "U-Boot warfare is more successful than any offer of peace ".






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An old example of an Imperial Naval flag, ca. 100x60 cm, not period. Bottom section of Liek has been removed at some time.

A boatsman's whistle, not period, probably a personal souvenir. From the estate of Günter W., 1926-2018,
formerly of Linienschiff" Schleswig-Holstein" and Marine-Panzerabwehrabteilung.






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Kaiserliche Marine, officer's full dress bicorne cocked hat (fore and aft hat) for all naval officer's full dress below the rank of Admiral. Crushed felt covered cardboard base, the edged in wide black mohair moirée braid. Gold bullion agraffe over folded silk black-white-red Reichskokarde, held with a gilt naval officers button. Liner complete with leather head band and folded silk crown lining. Hat ends each with a silber bullion cordon tassle, age darkened. Reasonable condition, with some light fraying to the black braid on corners.



Detail of gold bullion agraffe with folded silk Reichskokarde and gilt retainer button.




Hat crown


Detail of bullion tassles to hat ends.


Cap emblem for officers of the Kaiserliche Marine, fine quality gold bullion, crown in gilt metal with bullion applications


An officer's dress belt. Small size, braid mounted on white silk moirée backing, finely gilded buckle wth Imperial Crown over W  and anchor, both decorative sliders present. Type without loops for dagger suspension.


Buckle detail.


Naval Officer's dagger, older long pattern, total length 52 cm. Scabbard with decorative engraving of maritime motifs, blade with etching Crown over anchor, various maritime motifs and foliage, knight's helmet maker mark, with original wool felt buffer, scabbard with retaining spring. Ivory grips with silver wire binding, Imperial Crown as pommel, crossguard with central anchor symbol.


Detail of grip, pommel and crossguard


Scabbard with engraving, ring bands formed as roping.


Lower scabbard engravings.





Knights helmet makers logo.



Cap tally for S.M.S. "Kaiser Wilhelm II.", fine gold wire woven


Buttons for other ranks. Large button from a greatcoat or overjacket, the smaller version is for the short parade jacket, gold coloured for naval general service, silver for technical personnel.


Trade badge for the rank of Maat / Unteroffizier. Possibly engine room or stoker personnel, white for Summer uniform blouse.

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British Royal Navy officers cap badge, quality gold bullion with King's Crown, either WW1 or WW2, edges have been trimmed / cut away at some stage.




Naval other ranks cap, 1939-45. Dark blue regular top, silk cap tally tied with a bow to the front left, H.M.S. lettering with some wear, some smaller moth holes to top and under the ribbon, woven mohair woolen chinband.


Cap tallies, Royal Navy
H.M. Submarine E11, 1914-18, fine gilt copper wire woven on black silk, darkened with age, unresearched.
H.M.S. 1939-45, unissued

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Studio photo of an unknown Leutnant of the Kriegsmarine. Illegible inscription "...gest., 1940" (gestorben, possibly a Narvik casualty)
(Atelier Mercedes Riedel, Wandsbek)


A Hauptgefreiter of Marineflugabwehrabteilung or Marineflugabwehrschule (?) with his wife, pre-war studio photo
(Atelier Mercedes Riedel, Wandsbek)



Kriegsmarine photo with a dedication to the daughter  (Photoatelier Mercedes Riedel)


Kriegsmarine, unknown, purchased in Hamburg, 2006

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Bundesmarine after 1956


Early Bundeswehr photo, 1950s or 1960s - "Minensuchgeschwader"  (Atelier Mercedes Riedel, Wandsbek)

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Admiral Prinz Heinrich von Preußen, k.H., brother of Kaiser Wilhelm II.


Großadmiral von Tirpitz, Chief of Naval General Staff



Admiral Maximilian Graf von Spee



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