Grosser Kurfurst sinking off England 1878

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JonnyWicken
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Grosser Kurfurst sinking off England 1878

Post by JonnyWicken » 06 Jan 2024 10:58

Hello, I am interested in the German crew that died and the crew that survived of the warship Grosser Kurfurst, after it sunk off the coast of Folkestone, Kent, England, on 31 May 1878.

The ship has its own wikipedia page here which outlines the disaster:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMS_Gross ... rst_(1875)

I have created a rootschat thread and some of the information following has come from helpful replies there: https://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.p ... c=878893.0

The Friends of Folkestone Cemetery, where many of the men are buried, have created a virtual cemetery here with the names of the 100 or so men in the burial registers: https://www.findagrave.com/virtual-cemetery/1154337

I know from the British Newspaper Article that the body of Count Liverrin was also found, but his was taken back to Germany in June 1878, only I don't know his real name outside his title and where he was buried in Germany.

There is an early list (2 Jun) of those "missing" (werden vermisst) and saved (gerettet) which can be read here:
https://www.deutsche-digitale-bibliothe ... suepage=16

Four survivors names at the end of the list did not tally with the crew list and are actually believed to be mispellings of four of the missing.

So therefore it is not 274 that were missing when they list was made, but 270.

270 were missing, presumed dead and 217 rescued, so 487 men were on board the ship.

The notes with the missing and rescued list, that was made the day after the sinking on 1 June, states that maybe others could have been rescued, so hopefully I will be able to find this out.

I have had a message back from someone on ancestry who has one of the crew called Messtorf in their tree, who has shown he was commemorated on his father's grave.

Thia person has also sent me links with photos of two other monuments to those lost on the ship.

One is an outside stone monument with names on:

http://www.denkmalprojekt.org/2021/vl_p ... -1875.html

I assume this is the monument stated on wikipedia to have been placed at "the front of the barracks of I. Seebataillon to memorialize the naval infantry who had died in the sinking". However I don't know where the barracks were and if this monument survives.

The other is a marble, wall-mounted internal monument with gold letters:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... uselang=de

I am not sure where this is either, maybe these are names from another unit.

I am really interested on seeing how feasible it is to try and put together information on all the 270 missing/dead and 217 survivors, but I am aware this is a huge task.

I understand the navy records survive and I have emailed the archives, but think obtaining information on all the men who died and lived might be possible.

I am going to work with the Friends of the Cemetery in Folkestone on this and have started a spreadsheet.

However, if anyone would be interested in joining a research group on the men, in preparation for enabling the men's names to step out the shadows prior to the 150th anniversary in 2028, I would love to hear from you.

Thank you,
Jonny Wicken

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Glenn2438
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Re: Grosser Kurfurst sinking off England 1878

Post by Glenn2438 » 06 Jan 2024 19:33

Jonny,

the Verlustliste or list of fatalities from the sinking of S.M.S. Großer Kurfürst was published in the "Marine-Verordnungsblatt", edition number 11 of 15 June 1878. It lists 269 confirmed fatalities with details of rank, fore and surnames, dates and places of birth.

I have placed below an image showing the ship's complement of officers.

Your "Count Liverrin" is Axel Graf von Schwerin.

If the list is of interest to you please send me a pm with your email address and I will send it to you.
Großer Kurfürst.jpg
Regards
Glenn
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Glenn2438
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Re: Grosser Kurfurst sinking off England 1878

Post by Glenn2438 » 06 Jan 2024 19:44

A portrait of the senior officer casualty, Kapitän-Lieutenant Axel Graf von Schwerin.

Regards
Glenn
Schwerin.jpg
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Waleed Y. Majeed
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Re: Grosser Kurfurst sinking off England 1878

Post by Waleed Y. Majeed » 06 Jan 2024 20:55

Wikipedia does say the marble wall-mount is in the Pauluskirche (Kiel).
Another monument of the sinking can be found at the Deutschen Marinemuseum in Wilhelmshaven.
http://www.sozialdokumentarische-fotogr ... 202018.htm

Waleed

JonnyWicken
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Location: United Kingdom

Re: Grosser Kurfurst sinking off England 1878

Post by JonnyWicken » 08 Jan 2024 13:57

This really is all just amazing. Thank you so much.

So now I know there are three memorials, so this will be helpful to divide the men in the spreadsheet I have created into different units.

I missed the church where that marble one was, so thanks for that too.

Brilliant to know who Count 'Liverrin' as well and amazing to see a photograph.

I would love to see that list please and I will measage you shortly. It will be the definitive list it seems and those additional details will be so helpful in finding out more about the men.

Thanks so much to the both of you,
Jonny

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