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Ponape, Skagerrak/Jutland, Cows & Nazi Radio: A Ribbon Bar’s Tale


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Here is an oddball early style M1915 ribbon bar of 18mm height, 15mm width, with an unsuccessful early “crank handle” pin, on navy blue backing:

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EK2 1914

Red Eagle Order 4 X (6 May 1911 as 1st Officer of SMS Cormoran)

Prussian Lifesaving Medal (26 February 1910 ditto)

Colonial Medal (bar “Ponape 1910/11”)

Southwest Africa Medal 1904-06 (unknown if steel or bronze, at this time)

Baden Zähringen Lion Order-Knight 1st with Oakleaves and Swords (BZ3bXE—23.06.16 see below)

This bar dates summer 1916 to 1920, probably 1916 from the oddball typology. Apparently the device was replaced on the Baden ribbon at some point—oakleaves were rarely found even when earned as most dealers obviously didn’t keep them in stock. Werber also received the EK1 1914 and a post-war Prussian/Reichs XXV, then the Hindenburg Cross for Combatants.

Imperial German Navy 10 April 1899 to 10 September 1920—

Seekadett 18.04.99

Fähnrich zur See 10.04.00 (seniority unknown)

Leutnant zS

Oberleutnant zS 21.03.05 Ji (this indicating he did not hold an Abitur diploma)

Kapitänleutnant zS 06.08.09 B

Korvettenkapitän zS 16.07.17 B

1900: SMS Charlotte on school cruise

1904-- ? (this would reveal which type SW Africa Medal he received, by WHERE he was)

1905: Schiffsjungen Division staff, Friedrichsort

1907: SMS Zähringen

1909: SMS Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm

1910/11: 1st Officer SMS Cormoran (suppression of Ponape uprising)

1914: Staff of II. Matrosen Division, Wilhelmshaven, then 1st Officers of SMS Hagen and SMS Hildebrand to January 1915; 1st Officer of SMS Elbing to 1 June 1916 (BZ3bXE entry has him “of SMS Hagen”—apparently a “war security” publication of his last peacetime posting); 1st Officer of SMS Graudenz to June 1918; then Chief of VIth Minesweeper Flotilla to war’s end.

SMS Elbing and the battleship SMS Posen collided in the midst of the battle of Skagerrak/Jutland, just past midnight 1 June 1916. SMS Elbing sank about 3 hours later, but with the loss of only 4 of her over 450 member crew.

Despite being retained for 6 months longer than most Imperial Navy officers, Werber was not taken into the Reichsmarine and did not get a brevet promotion on retirement.

Werber was Member Number 672 of the M.O.V. Married after 01.01.14 and by 1928, in which year he was living in Plauen i/Vogtland as Hauptgeschäftsführer of the Vogtl. Kreislandbund E.V. and was a Direktor of the Vogtl. Milchhof A.G. in that city. (From Pacific native rebellions to Saxon milk cow management!...)

1931 he was living in Frankfurt am Oder with (common to many in that dreadful year) no occupation listed.

1935 he was living in Hamburg as Leiter of Reichssender Hamburg, and was a Member of the Reichs Radio Chamber (Reichsrundfunkkammer)

1937 at the same home address in Hamburg, but radio executive title then was Sendeleiter, Reichssender Hamburg

1939: Living in Frankfurt am Main, Intendant of Reichssender Frankfurt Rundfunk.

Not listed in Hildebrand for any WW2 naval duty, so presumably remained employed as a senior radio broadcasting executive. No further information known.

I’ve had this ribbon bar since January 2002 (thanks to Mike D) and THOUGHT I had its owner semi-identified, but that was based on a misconception that the “war ribbon X” in 2nd place was the (expected) Crown Order 4X… not the Red Eagle it actually was. Correct identification only made 16 November 2010—

which is why we in the Research Community don’t/can’t charge “suitable” fees for our work. Sometimes it takes mere minutes… other times years and years. I hope you have enjoyed this Real Life Story of an “anonymous” ribbon bar’s original wearer.

Thanks to WEM for posting this since I am offline. (Things getting buttoned down here on The Island before we’re iced in for the winter again….) Rick Research

Sources:

Annual Rank Lists for the navy and army, WW1 Honor Rank Lists, Prussian Orders Lists, Baden Zähringen Lion Rolls, directories of the German Naval Officers’ Association (MOV and MOH eV).

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I knew that name was familiar... this is Paul Lambert Werber isn't it? He's mentioned in the excellent "Rebellion in der Suedsee" by Thomas Morlang about the Ponape Uprising. It seems Werber kept a journal and the author quotes him several times in his book.

Cheers

Chris

Edited by Chris Dale
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And here's a photo of Paul Lambert Werber taken in Ponape. From left to right the three German officers are Otto Erhard, Edgar Spiegel von und zu Peckelsheim and Paul Lambert Werber. This photo is the front cover of Morlang's aforementioned book.

The same photo can also be seen along with other Sokehs Rebellion pictures at http://www.micsem.org/photos/sokehs/thumbs.htm

Cheers

Chris

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