Jump to content

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 60
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic


Is that a merchant marine uniform? As a Korvetten-Kapitän, he would not have been entitled to 4 cuff rings.


Yes, I mentioned his military rank. I think it is him wearing a merchant marine uniform while

he was captain from the Albert Ballin from the Hamburg - Amerika Linie ( Hapag )

Link to post
Share on other sites

OMG!!!!!!! WHERE DID YOU GET THAT?????????

That image is my personal HOLY GRAIL!!!!!!!

I got the medal bar and matching ribbon bar from George Seymour on August 2, 1985 and have been seeking an image (and death date) EVER SINCE!!!!!

Wiehr was the Kommodore of the Hamburg-Amerika Linie (HaPag) in the 1920s, Captain of their flagship "Albert Ballin."


Edited by Rick Research
Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there some sort of Nachlass being sold out there now? I've had his medal bar and ribbon bar for 28 years 2 weeks and 3 days without anything else ever turning up--and no idea (now) how long George had the awards set before that.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul Wilhelm Friedrich Carl Wiehr was born 7 May 1868 at Hasenhänge, Mecklenburg, son of Johann Hartwig Christian Wiehr and Alwine Charlotte Wilhemine née Köster—both later of Ludwigslust. Protestant. He joined the Imperial Navy as a One Year Volunteer 1 April 1892. Although one might have assumed that merchant navy officers were logical candidates for careers in the naval reserves, the status-obsessed regular officer corps actively DISCOURAGED merchant navy officers from entering the navy, in the same way they piled humiliating social and professional restrictions on engineering officers.

Wiehr was commissioned as an Unterleutnant zur See der Reserve 11.11.95 C, promoted Oberleutnant zur See der Reserve 16 May 1899 E, and Kapitänleutnant zur See der Reserve 10 June 1905 B. Sometime between 1908 and 1910 (a gap in my Naval Rank Lists), he "downgraded" from der Reserve to der Seewehr status. He received his LD2 on 22.06.04.

During this same 1908-10 period, in his civilian capacity as a merchant navy captain, he picked up a Saxon Albert Order-Knight 1st Class (SA3a: 29.11.08) and Persian Order of the Lion and Sun-Commander. In the summer of 1912 he added a Württemberg Friedrich Order-Knight 1st Class (WF3a 19.07.12)--all typical "thanks for the nice cruise" presents from happy Royals to liner captains-- but a uniquely ODD combination (wouldn't THAT have been a peculiar shuffleboard trio if all three were on the same cruise?...) that allowed his anonymous medals, with his WW1 awards, to be traced.

Known HaPag commands were: March 1908-- Steamer "Odenwald" 1908 (Hamburg's Senatorial Foreign Ministry on 09.12.08 passed along the thanks of the French Republic for having rescued the crew of the French sloop "Deuz Jeannes" on 29.03.08). November 1908-- Steamer "Kronprinzesssin Cecilie" (SA3a) November 1910 to at least July 1912-- steamer "König Wilhelm II" (01.12.10 letter transmitting non-wearable brinze medal of the German "Seewarte.") Obviously the ship was named after the King of Württemberg, explaining Wiehr's WF3a! 1928 through at least 1931: Commodore of the Hamburg-Amerika Linie, "Führer" of their flagship ocean liner "Albert Ballin."

When the war broke out, he was safely back in Germany, his LD1 being authorized 09.06.14, so was assigned as Navigation Officer of SMS "Hertha." From November 1914 to January 1915 he was attached to the Admiralty Staff, then held a number of short training and shore commands until being appointed First Officer of SMS "Kaiser Friedrich III" from June-October 1915. He was Chief of the Kiel Outpost Half-Flotilla in the Fehmarn mine belt October 1915 to March 1916, when he was assigned as commander of Submarine-Hunter Flotilla II in the Baltic-- the post he held until the end of the war. As of November 1917 he was aboard merchant vessel “Prinz Adalbert” serving as 3rd Half Flotilla “flag ship” of the Baltic Handelschutzflotille.

Known wartime awards were Iron Crosses 1st(20.01.17) and 2nd Class (27.01.16) , Hamburg Hanseatic Cross (13.10.16), and Mecklenburg-Schwerin Military Merit Cross 2nd Class gazetted in Schwerin 19 May 1917 though actually awarded 14.01.17! Wiehr also received the MMV1--confirmed from his photo and by award document 03.06.18..

After the war, it is possible to track his merchant navy career through German Naval Officers Association Directories.

In 1928 he was the "Führer" (!) of the Hamburg America (HAPAG) Line's new flagship ocean liner "Albert Ballin," named after the Line's Director (1857-1918)--who, being Jewish, caused the Nazis to rename the vessel "Hansa" after Hitler took power. Launched in 1923, on the Hamburg to New York run, by the late 1930s newer, faster liners had taken the lead. “Albert Ballin” aka “Hansa” was an accommodation ship for the Kriegsmarine during WW2. Evacuating refugees from Gotenhafen, she struck a Soviet mine off Warnemünde on 6 March 1945 and slowly bottomed in shallow water as the passengers were taken off in lifeboats. Raised in 1949 and refitted in the Soviet Union as the “Sovietsky Soyuz,” “Albert Ballin” was still on the Vladivostok to Kamchatka run in 1971.

Wiehr was HAPAG's Commodore, or senior Captain, so I presume he had spent his entire civilian sailing career with them. The 1931 directory omits any occupation for him, but it was a sloppily put together edition (and many members were then unemployed in the Great Depression), but in 1935 he was listed as the Pensioned Commodore of the Hamburg America Line. He was alive in 1939, living in Hamburg at 39 Lattenkamp 13. It is entirely possible, based on other known merchant marine officers, that he was pulled "out of mothballs" and returned to merchant navy duty during WW2--past age 70. (I know of a recalled Commodore from business rival North German Lloyd who ended up a POW in Canada, in his mid-70s.)

Third Reich era awards: Hindenburg Cross X was a very late award: 24.08.35, with his status on that as "Retired Captain." SURPRISE SURPRISE, he also got the "Verdienstkreuz" (pinback "officer Class") decoration of the German Red Cross, type 1937-39 on 26.07.37--referring to him by his retired NAVAL rank. That was completely unexpected!

Wiehr died at 11 PM 14 September 1942 in hamburg, having been pre-deceased by his wife Johanna Agnes Charlotte née von Klitzing. Apparently they had children, since his death certificate bears notation about being placed in “parents' papers.” His wife was born in Kreis Berken, Anhaalt on 6 April 1875. They both transferred from Mecklenburg to Hamburg citizenship in 1906.

I have a number of books on the Golden Age of ocean liners, with 1920s-30s illustrations of "Albert Ballin/Hamburg." I know that many liners printed pamphlets listing crew and passengers, and would be interested in any such original documentation listing Kapitän/Kommodore Wiehr-- before or after WW1. Who knows, somewhere there may be a PHOTO of him in his Commodore's attire! (<--my last research update before today, years and years at this)

RED additions to my previously known data = 17 August 2013. BLUE additions = added 8.08.13--see following posts (EDIT updates)

Ahhhhh, yeaah. Thanks to dedehansen today THAT and most of the personal biographical data is no longer unknown!!!! :jumping::jumping::jumping::jumping::jumping:

Edited by Rick Research
Link to post
Share on other sites

Uh huhhhhhhh. :D:jumping: Even in the late 1920s pre-Hindenburg bar there--thanks for getting them miraculously sized, Hardy--he had tab-backs, just like his final bar. Every one of those ribbons matches what is on mine, down to the creases in the ribbon folds. His Hamburg got snagged into the ribbon in the photo, is all that looks different. They were salvaged and re-used!

I haven't been THIS excited since... well... I don't reveal EVERYTHING. :cheeky:

Last year K.B. Major aD Julius Bielke's sword turned up at my sword-collecting T.M. friend's house when I've had Bielke's documents since 1981 (sword posted here at GMIC)... now this.

Is the universe contracting to a singularity, or what?

Edited by Rick Research
Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there some sort of Nachlass being sold out there now? I've had his medal bar and ribbon bar for 28 years 2 weeks and 3 days without anything else ever turning up--and no idea (now) how long George had the awards set before that.


Hello Rick,

I hope You are well ?!

The Nachlaß has been sold about ten years ago from a trader in Niedersachsen.


This unbelievable, what a great story with a happy ending.


Sam K.

and the story can be continued

Here is his Befähigungs - Zeugnis zum Unterlieutenant zur See der Reserve

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Blog Comments

    • Sounds great other than the Orange & Mango squash only because I prefer cran-pomegranate juice.
    • "(...) disgusting herbal concoction (...)" I took note of this description, to enrich my otherwise limited, English "Wortschatz"...
    • At work the standard indian tea such as PG tips is referred to as chimp tea. This goes back to the days when we had a Spanish girl working for us whose command of the English language was extremely limited. One lunch she said she was going to the shop could she get anything. I asked if she could get a pack of tea bags. She returned with some disgusting herbal concoction. I tried to explain what was required but without success. I then remembered PG tips had a picture of a chimpanzee on the packe
    • When I read Lapsang Souchong i decided to post something about these Tea . Many years ago I dont  know about Lapsang until I read James Michener book Centennial and the description of the savour of the Lapasang as a mix of tar and salt & smoked made me proof . It was exact ! and i liked it since then .
    • I have been known to drink Lapsang Souchong and Tea, Earl Grey, Hot... both "without pollutants". I normally have one mug of coffee in the morning, then spend the rest of the day drinking Orange & Mango squash (by the pint). Then evening comes and it's a pint, followed by red wine with dinner and sometimes a drop of Laphroaig afterwards.
  • Create New...