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Fritz

F.X. Lachenmair and the "Admiral Graf Spee"

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Franz Xaver Lachenmair
* Buchloe i./Bayern, 8. August 1916
+ Valencia de la Conception, Sevilla, Januar 2000

Kapitän Langsdorff was the commander of the Graf Spee. In December 1939 the Graf Spee entered the port of Montevideo in Uruguary after engaging an English battle squadron. It sought to carry out repairs and bury the dead on land. The serious damage could not be sufficiently repaired within the 72 hours granted by international law. Setting sail again would mean the total destruction of the ship and unnecessary loss of lives, as the English battle squadron lay waiting outside of international waters, There seemed no way out. Langsdorff ordered to set sail, and then dropped anchor in the Rio Plata Estuary, allowing all officers and crew to leave the ship. Shortly after that the ship was torn by a series of explosions and the wreck burned for several days. Langsdorff bade farewell to officers and crew and shot himself the same evening The officers and crew were detained in Argentina for the duration of the war.
Franz Xaver Lachenmair from Buchloe in Bavaria had been a member of the crew and was a clerk with the rank of Oberbootsmannsmaat (senior sergeant) Before the war broke out and he made the acquaintance of Liesel Gottwald, Birgitt's mother. After the war, Lachenmair settled in Spain, where he became a successful businessman and amateur pilot, and married a Spanish woman having several children. For many years he stayed in correspondence with Kapitänleutnant Robert Höpfner, whose son now lives in France and passed on this information. Liesel Paulmann, who lived in Wandsbek had briefly known FXL before war broke out in 1939 and told me the story several years ago. She had got in contact with Höpfner jun. after listening to the early morning NDR Hamburger Hafenkonzert on the radio, in which Höpfner junior had told this short story. I then got the information from her. She had been previously married to Oberfeldwebel Walter Neusüß, formerly of Luftwaffe KG 26 and KG 4.
Franz Xaver Lachenmair passed away in January 2000, his wife died ten years before him.
The wreck of the "Graf Spee" burned for several days before finally settling in the mud of the estuary. The large bronze eagle from the bow of the ship was recovered in the year 2006 and is now in a museum in Montivideo. The graves of Kapt.Langsdorff and thirty six members of his crew can be seen in the city cemetery of Montivideo

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Funeral of Kapitän Langsdorff

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A recent photo of the graves at Montevideo

 

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The ship's eagle was salvaged several years ago, and is now in a Museum in Montivideo. There is also a memorial in the port.

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Franz Xaver Lachenmair, Oberschreibermaat on the "Graf Spee". 2 pictures taken around Summer of 1939.

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Franz Xaver Lachenmair
* 8.8.1916 Buchloe in Bayern
+ Januar 2000 in Valencia de la Concepcion/Sevilla

 

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Above: At the railway station Buchloe. Herr Schiede travelled to Stuttgart on 23.7.1938, Franz in uniform.
Two families, Lachenmair and Schropp, Buchloe, 23.6.1938. Franz in the middle, seated

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Liesel Gottwald (right) with Franz in the garden at Buchloe, 21.7.1938. To the left, her friend Miki Eberlein

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Some recent newspaper articles of the "Graf Spee" regarding salvage. There are reports that a "tycoon" wants t to raise and restore the ship,
which has broken into two halves.

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