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Rick Research

Imperial Navy Swords Part 2

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From a local collection:

Not often do we get a sword with photographs of the original wearer, let alone an author...


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He had literally more awards than it was possible to wear... so naturally he was a fashionable under-dresser


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Admiral Hopman carried this sword throughout his entire career. No fancy-schmancy presentation gifts for him!

this is what over 30 years of thunk clump slide across the deck/ground does:

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The blade-- as much as fits on a scanner. Yes, it was sharpened. He served in active colonial campaigns and there is very little doubt but that this WAS used for its intended and not merely ceremonial purpose:

This sword was made by a company that went out of business in the 1880s.

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Vizeadmiral zur See Albert Hopman (1865-1942):

Military Career 1884-1920

21.04.1884 entry in Imperial German navy to 09.03.1920 discharge


16.04.1885 #B Seekadett

16.04.1887 Unterleutnant zur See without ?Patent? (on 03.10.88, Patent as of 16.04.87 # A)

17.06.1890 Leutnant zur See (old style rank which became Oberleutnant after 1900)

12.04.1897 Kapit?nleutnant zur See (Lieutenant Junior Grade)

06.03.1903 Korvettenkapit?n zur See (Lieutenant Senior Grade)

15.10.1907 Fregattenkapit?n zur See (Commander)

12.12.1908 Kapit?n zur See (Captain)

22.03.1915 Konteradmiral zur See (Rear Admiral)

14.10.1917 #A Vizeadmiral zur See (Vice Admiral)


21.04.1884--25.09.1884 Basic training and cadet sailing ship cruise on ?Niobe?

26.09.1884--28.03.1885 Naval School for officer training

15.04.1885--29.09.1887 Frigate ?M?ltke? and special courses

02.10.1887--27.09.1888 Naval School officer training

28.09.1888--06.09.1889 IInd Torpedo Battalion, Platoon Officer (shore establishment)

15.10.1888--29.10.1888 simultaneously Watch Officer on Torpedo Boat ?D4?

29.04.1889--06.06.1889 ditto, ?D2?

07.06.1889--06.09.1889 ditto, ?D5?

07.09.1889--24.09.1890 Watch Officer on Corvette ?Irene?

25.09.1890--29.10.1890 Trip out to Africa on commercial steamer ?Kronprinz Friedrich Wilhelm?

30.10.1890--29.10.1891 Watch Officer, Gunboat ?Hy?ne,? West African Station

30.10.1891--21.11.1891 Home trip from Africa on commercial steamer ?Aline Woermann?

22.11.1891--21.03.1892 Platoon Officer, IInd Sailor Division (shore training establishment)

22.03.1892--31.03.1892 Watch Officer on Armored Vessel ?Siegfried?

01.04.1892--10.04.1893 Assistant to Torpedo Testing Command, while also Watch Officer on Dispatch Boat ?Greif?

27.04.1893--04.04.1894 Watch Officer on School Ship ?Stein?

23.04.1894--18.06.1895 First Officer of Dispatch Boat ?Loreley?

18.07.1895--30.09.1897 assigned to staff of Naval High Command

09.08.1896--15.09.1896 while also Signals Officer on Staff of the Exercise Fleet

15.08.1897--21.09.1897 while also Signals Officer on Staff of the Exercise Fleet

01.10.1897--24.03.1898 preliminary Admiralty Staff training course at the Marine Academy

25.03.1898--30.09.1898 First Officer of Dispatch Boat ?Greif?

01.10.1898--31.03.1899 final Admiralty Staff training course at the Marine Academy

01.04.1899--16.03.1901 Navigation Officer on Cruiser ?Brandenburg.? Dates include one month or more each way travelling to China. Served there during the Boxer Rebellion

25.04.1901--30.09.1905 Section Chief in the Naval Admiralty Staff headquarters

17.08.1902--18.09.1902 while also Admiralty Staff Officer in IInd Fleet Reconnaissance Group

01.04.1903--31.03.1905 while also detached for duty with the Army Great General Staff

16.02.1904--08.12.1904 while also assigned as foreign military observer to the Russian fleet in East Asia during the Russo-Japanese War

28.04.1905--09.06.1905 as well as assigned to duty with the German Fleet Command staff

01.10.1905--27.08.1908 1st Admiralty Staff Officer on Staff of the High Seas Fleet

28.08.1908--09.10.1908 at disposal of the Chief of the High Seas Fleet

10.10.1908--15.11.1908 trip out to Punta Arenas as naval replacement transport commander on commercial steamer ?Roda? for German South American Station

16.11.1908--28.10.1909 Captain of the Light Cruiser ?Bremen? on South American Station

29.10.1909--24.11.1909 home voyage via St. Thomas/Central America

25.11.1909--29.04.1910 at disposal of Chiefs of Naval Stations North Sea and Baltic

30.04.1910--30.09.1911 Captain of Battleship ?Rheinland?

01.10.1911--18.04.1915 Chief of the Central Section of the Reichs Naval Office

24.12.1914--13.01.1915 while also Section Chief in Imperial Supreme Headquarters

20.04.1915--15.01.1916 Chief of Reconnaissance Battle Forces in the Baltic Sea

21.01.1916--20.05.1916 Adviser in Turkish Naval Ministry

22.05.1916--15.09.1916 assigned to the Reichs Naval Office and Naval Admiralty Staff

16.09.1916--06.10.1916 Deputy Assistant Chief of the Naval Admiralty Staff

07.10.1916--09.12.1916 Chief of the Operations Section of the Naval Admiralty Staff

11.12.1916--07.12.1917 Commander of Reconnaissance Battle Forces in the eastern Baltic

15.12.1917--16.12.1917 Chief of Staff on Staff of Supreme Commander of Baltic Sea Forces

25.12.1917--24.11.1918 Chief of the Russian Front Naval Armistice Commission as well as Chairman of the Nautical-Technical Commission (see next scan)

01.03.1918--16.05.1918 while also member of the Peace Commission for Rumania

17.05.1918--24.11.1918 while also Naval Commander for occupied Russian Black Sea ports

25.11.1918--01.07.1919 Chief of the Armistice Commission for the Black Sea & Mediterranean

21.07.1919--29.10.1919 at disposal of the Chief of the Admiralty

30.10.1919--15.01.1920 Chief of the German Delegation to the Inter-Allied Commission for Evacuation of the Baltic

16.01.1920--09.03.1920 at disposal of the Chief of the Admiralty

Above duty assignments are from pages 144-145 of ?Deutschlands Admirale 1849-1945,? volume 2: H--O, by Hans H. Hildebrand and Ernest Henriot. Published by Biblio Verlag, Osnabr?ck, 1989.

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Hopman in Commission to Demilitarize the former Tsarist Fleet duty, center front with white cap and blue uniform:

Albert Hopman?s Decorations:

Known awards:

1) Prussian Red Eagle Order 2nd Class with Oakleaves and swords on ?2-black-3-white? ribbon

used to denote promotion up from lower swords awards (see below): 7 September 1917

2) Star to Prussian Red Eagle Order 2nd Class with Oakleaves and Swords: 29 October 1918

3) Bavarian Military Merit Order with Swords, Officer 24 November 1914

4) Iron Cross 2nd Class WWI

5) Iron Cross 1st Class WWI

6) XXV Years Service Cross

7) Colonial Medal (1913 retroactive for West Africa 1891)

8) China 1900-01 Campaign Medal for combatants (if bars for naval actions, unknown)

9) Kaiser Wilhelm I Centenary Medal 1897

10) Bremen Hanseatic Cross WWI

11) Hamburg Hanseatic Cross WWI

12) L?beck Hanseatic Cross WWI

13) Saxon Albert Order 2nd Class with Star and Swords WWI

14) W?rttemberg Friedrich Order 2nd Class with Swords WWI

15) Prussian Red Eagle Order 3rd Class with Crown, Bow, and Swords on ring, replacing

16) Prussian Red Eagle Order 3rd Class with Bow and Swords on Ring

17) Prussian Crown Order 2nd Class, replacing

18) Prussian Crown Order 3rd Class

19) Prussian Red Eagle Order 4th Class with Crown and Swords, (colonial) replacing

20) Prussian Red Eagle Order 4th Class with Swords (colonial)

21) Baden Order of the Z?hringen Lion 2nd Class pre-WWI

22) Austro-Hungarian Military Merit Cross 2nd Class with War Decoration WWI

23) Austro-Hungarian Military Merit Cross 3rd Class with War Decoration WWI

24) Turkish Medjidie Order 1st Class with Sabers WWI

25) ? Turkish War Medal WWI (usually given as basic Turkish award, with all others)

26) Russian St Anne Order 2nd Class with Swords, pre-WWI replacing

27) Russian St Anne Order 2nd Class pre-WWI

28) Russian St Stanislaus Order 2nd Class pre-WWI

29) Venezuela Order of the Bust of Bolivar 3rd Class

30) Finnish Order of the Cross of Liberty, 1st Class, military, 1918

31) Monaco Order of St Charles, Knight pre-1905

32) German WWI Honor Cross for Front-fighters 1934/5


COMMANDER WITH STAR AWARDS = #s 1 & 2 (given separately) & 13 (single award)

COMMANDER GRADE AWARDS = #s 14, 17, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28 & 29

PINBACK AWARDS = #s 3, 4, & 25


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I'll get some Rank List, Wer Ist's? and Naval Officers Association Directories scans in eventually.

Vice Admiral Albert Hopman was born 30 April 1865 in Olpe, Westphalia, and died 14 March 1942 in Berlin. His 1935 ?Wer Ist?s?? entry states merely that his ?father?s side? were Westphalian lawyers, and his ?mother?s side? industrialists from the same region. This apparently provided him with an inherited income in addition to his naval salary. The family was Catholic. His wife?s first name was Irmgard, her birthday 7 January 18XX per the 1914 German Navy Birthdays Directory. They had at least two sons, who will be detailed below. In 1931 Admiral and Mrs Hopman were living at Parkstrasse 18, Berlin-Dahlem. In 1935 they were at Helferrichstrasse 18, home telephone number H-9-1957. Admiral Hopman?s membership number in the Marine-Offiziers-Verein was 3329. He was a member of the German-Japanese Society and the German-Russian Club, as well as Leader (?F?hrer?) of the German Motor Yacht Association, and President of the Motor Yacht Club of Germany.

The elder known Hopman son was Immo, born 24 January 1901. He entered the Imperial German navy as an under-aged officer cadet in 1917, but saw no action during his brief service in the last year of WWI. He was granted a post-discharge commission as brevet Leutnant zur See ausser Dienst to date 14 December 1920, so could not have worn his father?s sword. (It is extremely unlikely that he would have ever ?dressed up? in his discharged Ensign?s uniform--with no awards--in the 1920s-30s.) Like his father, Immo was a member of The Marine-Offiziers-Verein, listed in the 1931 and 1935 membership directories as partner in the Zimmermann & S?nderhauf Sawmill in Eckertal, Harz. In both years, he was living in Bad Harzburg, first at Bismarckstrasse 38a, later at Hindenburgring 17, with same home telephone number of 345. He was married by 1931, but his wife?s name was not listed. Immo served during WW2 as--rather unexpectedly-- a Korvettenkapit?n zS dR and survived the war.

The younger known Hopman son was Rolf-Heinrich, born 26 March 1906 in Kiel, killed in action in the Atlantic 1 November 1943. He joined the Reichsmarine as a career officer candidate in 1926. Known promotions after See-Kadett on 12/10/26 are: Lt zS 1.10.30 #10, Kapit?nleutnant zS 1.4.36 #7, Korvettenkapit?n zS 1.11.40, and posthumous Fregattenkapit?n zS retroactively to 1.11.43. Married to a lady named Margrit before 1939 (her birthday in the 1939 Naval Birthday Directory listed as 3.11.XX), Rolf was a pre-war instructor at the Flak and Coast Artillery School, serving mainly as a destroyer gunnery officer. In 1940 his ship, the destroyer Z19 ?Hermann K?nne,? was scuttled 13 April 1940 after running out of fuel and ammunition during the German landings at Narvik, Norway. He spent the next month fighting ashore as infantry with the other 9 destroyer crews there (Destroyer War Badge, Narvik Shield, etc). Transferred for submarine training, he was the only commander of the newly launched 1941 submarine U-405, on which he served from 17 September 1941 until his loss in action with the entire crew on 1 November 1943. He was posthumously awarded the German Cross in Gold on 5 January 1944--though for what seems uncertain. These awards were given for a strict tonnage sinkings requirement, and the sole victims of U-405 from ?Axis Submarine Successes 1939-1945? were-- 13.9.42: an unidentified vessel in Allied convoy PQ 18, 28.2.43: the British steamer ?Wade Hampton? and its deck cargo of two former US/Lend Lease Soviet torpedo boats ex-PT85/RPT-1 and ex-PT87/RPT-3, 9.3.43: Norwegian steamer ?Bonneville? and (being towed alongside--apparently Hopman was just lucky about getting ?multiples?!)--the British LCT 2341. On 30 October 1943 he attacked an unknown vessel as part of a wolf pack, but no type was listed, nor was a sinking verified. His two victories would not ordinarily have qualified him for anything, so his German Cross may have been the result of vastly inflated victory claims. A sub commander as singularly unsuccessful as he obviously was would normally have been removed from sea command by 1944, not rewarded for long but unproductive service!

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Hopman's entry in the only "Wer Ist's?" printed under the Third Reich, 1935--

It is from such diverse sources that an attributable item can have the original owner's life pieced back together again.

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