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Naval Photos and Memorabilia, 1871-1945


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(Transferred from previous photo section)

Datei:Kaiser Wilhelm-10959b (Adolph Behrens).jpg

Wilhelm II. in naval uniform, 1913, from a painting by Adolph Behrens (Marineschule Mürwik)


A cap tally from the Linienschiff SMS "Kaiser Wilhelm II." - black silk with golden metalic thread.  S.M.S. stands for Seine Majestäts Schiff

S.M. Linienschiff Kaiser Wilhelm II - restoration.jpg

SMS "Kaiser Wilhelm II." by Hugo Graf (1844-1914).


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. Baden
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.
* Sietas: Die traditionsreiche Hamburger Werft Pella Sietas in Neuenfelde hat für den 28. Juli 2021 einen Insolvenzantrag angekündigt -



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.


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" (?)
The "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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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 - Bellheim, 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, edge trim  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 silver bullion tassles to hat ends


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

Datei:Kapitänleutnant Moraht - Kaiserliche Marine.jpg – Wikipedia

Example as worn. Kapitänleutnant Robert Wilhelm Moraht, U 64 (Pour le Mérite, 12. Nov. 1917)


Cap cockade for Portépée Unteroffiziere



Kaiserliche Marine, shoulder pieces for a Kapitänleutnant, as worn on greatcoat and frock coat


An officer's dress belt. Small size, silver braid (Schärpentresse), black and red interwoven, 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


Uniform buttons 24 mm, Officer, for tunic or coat
Hermann Holstein, Kiel
Bartling & Söhne, Kiel


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


As before, these are private purchase examples without the "Kaiserliche Marine" property mark to the back.


Trade badge for the rank of Obermaat / Unteroffizier. Possibly engine room or stoker personnel, white for Summer uniform blouse.
found - Feuermeister-Obermaat. (engine-room)


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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.


RN Captain, for the greatcoat, etc.


Chief Petty Officer sleeve badge




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








Oberbootsmannsmaat St. (Stefan?) Wieland, 2.Unterseebootsflottille 2 (Saltzwedel)
N 1842 S

Die 2. Unterseebootsflottille, auch als U-Bootsflottille „Saltzwedel“ bekannt, wurde am 1. September 1936 in Kiel unter dem Kommando von Fregattenkapitän Werner Scheer gebildet und war nach Oberleutnant zur See Reinhold Saltzwedel, einem U-Boot-Kommandanten des Ersten Weltkriegs, benannt. Die Flottille wurde nach wenigen Wochen nach Wilhelmshaven verlegt. Im Herbst 1940 wurde mit der Verlegung der Flottille nach Lorient begonnen. Von da an bis zur Auflösung der Flottille im August 1944, als die Basis in Lorient aufgegeben werden musste, blieb sie dort stationiert. Die verbliebenen Boote wurden anschließend nach Norwegen verlegt.

A standard Kriegsmarine other ranks and n.c.o. service cap (so-called Donald Duck Cap)

with a cap tally of Unterseebootsflottille Saltzwedel, later re-named 2.Unterseebootsflottille 2. These cap tallies with unit or ships names were worn until outbreak of war in September 1939, and were replaced by the simple Kriegsmarine tally, however, some were worn after that date, especially by units which were at the time at sea, typical example, the Graf Spee.

This particular example came from the estate of Oberbootsmannsmaat Wieland, who served with this unit. With this were several other items, some bearing the name and service number (Stammrollennummer). This example I got from a Hamburg dealer, but unfortunately, I didn't take the time to examine the remaining articles.

The cap is fairly well worn, the eagle is an original replacement, as the previous piece had it's swastika filed down and had also lost it's pin. The rear of the leather sweatband has two metal initial tags attached, which is not clear in the photo: St. W. - so his first name could have been something like Stefan (?) The cap tally is machine-embroidered in gold thread, which has remained bright. Unfortunately have not been able to find any details of his service record. Certainly worth researching.

The first photo is a rank badge, which he would have worn as Oberbootsmannsmaat, the metal version for wearing with the parade jacket etc. This consists of an "unklarer Anker"* with a chevron below, and is mint, unworn condition. (*meaning an anchor with tow-rope)

The unit was raised on 1st September 1936 in Kiel, but shortly afterwards transferred to Wilhelmshaven. It was named after a WW1 U-Boot commander, Reinhold Saltzwedel, who was lost at sea.

The unit was transferred in Autumn 1940 to the Atlantic Coast, at Lorient, and operated from there until August 1944, being then transferred to Norway, where it remained till the end of the war.

The following boats served with
2 Saltzwedel 2
survived /lost
U25  48/0
U26  48/0
U27  0/38
U28  0/0
U29  0/0
U30  0/0
U31  2/44
U32  9/33
U33  25/17
U34  4/40
U36  40/0


With issue stamp BAW  15.2.39, Bekleidungsamt Wilhelmshaven.



A post-war version of the U-Boot Kriegsabzeichen and Iron Cross 2nd Class as a Feldspange.


Korvettenkapitän and Leutnant




Funk Gefreiter and Maschinenraum Obergefreiter, Goldlitze


Obergefreiter and Stabsgefreiter


Hauptgefreiter, large, very early pattern, Reichsmarine or earlier
Gefreiter, Küstenartillerie
Gefreiter, for naval blouse


Artilleriemechniker Maat


Oberbootsmannsmaat and Sperrwaffen Lehrgang



Maschinenraumpersonal and Funker


Musikermaat, summer uniform



A late war Zerstörerkriegsabzeichen by Alois Rettenmaier, Schwäbisch-Gmünd, unmarked, zink, gilding has migrated. Reverse has scratched owners name, K. Witte
A later war Minesweeper badge / Minensucherabzeichen by Otto Placzek, Ausf. Schwerin, Berlin. Zinc with no gilding






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Bundesmarine after 1956


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



Bundesmarine - officer

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


Prinz Adalbert (1884-1948) and Prinzessin Adelheid von Preußen, geb. Prinzessin von Sachsen-Meiningen. Adalbert was the third son of Kaiser Wilhelm II. and destined to wear naval uniform. In 1914 he was navigations officer on S:M.S. Kaiser, then with the staff of IV. Geschwader, since May 1917 Kommandant of the small cruiser S.M.S. Kaiser, with which he took part in Operation Albion. In March 1918 he took command of the newbuilding S.M.S. Dresden till the end of the war. He was also Major à la Suite of Grenadier-Regiment 4.


Großadmiral Alfred von Tirpitz, Chief of Naval General Staff



Admiral Maximilian Graf von Spee


Leutnant Graf Otto von Spee, S.M.S. Nürnberg and Leutnant Graf Heinrich von Spee, S.M.S.Gneisenau;
both died in the Battle of the Falkland Islands, 8. December 1914


Admiral von Pohl (1855-1916) , Chef des Admiralstabes. His successor was Admiral von Scheer
Pohl trat am 18. April 1872 als Kadett in die Kaiserliche Marine ein. Nach seiner Grundausbildung an Land und auf der Brigg SMS Rover absolvierte er die Marineschule.

Im Rang eines Vizeadmirals war er von 1910 bis 1912 Chef des I. Marine-Geschwaders, ab 1. April 1913 Chef des Admiralstabes.

Schon zu Beginn des Ersten Weltkriegs forderte Pohl Angriffe der deutschen U-Boote gegen ausländische Handelsschiffe. Noch einmal am 9. Januar 1915 forderte er die Verschärfung des Seekriegs und den Einsatz von Unterseebooten beim Kampf gegen Handelsschiffe. Nach dem Gefecht auf der Doggerbank (24. Januar 1915) wurde Pohl am 2. Februar 1915 als Nachfolger von Admiral Friedrich von Ingenohl (1857–1933) Chef der deutschen Hochseeflotte.

Am 4. Februar 1915 unterzeichnete er den Befehl zum uneingeschränkten U-Boot-Krieg, wonach alle ausländischen Schiffe innerhalb der Sperrzone um Großbritannien und Irland ohne Vorwarnung versenkt werden durften. Dieser Befehl trat am 18. Februar 1915 in Kraft. Allerdings war nur eine recht kleine Flotte von 23 U-Booten einsatzbereit.

Schon bald erkrankte Pohl schwer, so dass ihm bereits am 23. Januar 1916 Vizeadmiral Reinhard Scheer (1863–1928) als Flottenchef im Amt folgte. Er wurde am 24. Januar 1916 zur Disposition und gleichzeitig à la suite des Seeoffizierskorps gestellt. Knapp einen Monat später verstarb Pohl im Alter von sechzig Jahren. (info: wikipedia)


Korvettenkapitän Graf und Burggraf zu Dohna-Schlodien, Kommandant of the S.M.S. Möwe


Kapitänleutnant Weddingen, Kommandant S.M.S. U.9 (Pour le Mérite)
The U9 sank the "Abouqir", "Hogue" and "Crécy" within 75 minutes at Scapa Flow in December 1914
Lost at sea with the U.29 in March 1915


A period photo of a Steuermann - Portépéeunteroffizier. Slightly faded brown tones. The dark blue cloth shoulder pieces have gilded crossed ancres for Steuermann rank and branch. He is wearing two decorations, presumably the Iron Cross 2nd Class and the Hamburger Hanseatenkreuz. The peaked cap has the gold woven cockade with Imperial Crown in the version for the Deckoffiziere (non-commissioned).  Rare to find such photos over one hundred years later.
The photo came in a very old matt grey painted frame, which had been secured with modern tape to the rear, glass was broken, so now removed. Came from a second-hand shop for 4,50 €

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Kaiserliche Marine - See-Bataillon



A helmet plate, the so-called "Kaiseradler" or Imperial Eagle - for the Seebataillone of the Kaiserliche Marine. Reichsadler with Anchor, fire-gilded, most likely an officer example.   The headdress was a Tschako with an oval cockade with the Reichsfarben, black, white and red.  This example has double prongs at the rear rather than screw posts. The eagle has been flattened out slightly and no longer has it's convex form for fitting to the helmet.  It would most likely be from a Tropical helmet.
Below, two examples of headdress as worn.


Seebataillon, Tschako for an officer (internet photo as example)


Seebataillon, tropical helmet for other ranks. (internet photo as example)

1934-1945, Naval Land Units


Collar patches for fieldgrey land uniform, left unissued, right, on green backing, has been tunic removed
Breast eagle, woven on darkgreen backing, removed from tunic, early type
Breast eagle, woven on greygreen backing, unissued


Rimmed shoulder buttons for fieldgrey land uniform, 18 mm, khaki-bronze paint finish over aluminium
16 mm khaki-bronze paint finish, 16 mm, possibly for a cap M.42 or 43, not for shoulder boards. Rope edging.

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Very nice Fritz! I must admit, the Naval items is an area I have not branched into yet, meaning I know the least about it, so thanks for posting.

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New item added, see further back



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New articles added



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Just arrived!

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