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Capt Felix “Der Seeteufel” von Luckner

Capt Felix “Der Seeteufel” von Luckner

Birth
Dresden, Stadtkreis Dresden, Saxony (Sachsen), Germany
Death 14 Apr 1966 (aged 84)
Malmö, Malmö kommun, Skåne län, Sweden
Burial Ohlsdorf, Hamburg-Nord, Hamburg, Germany
Plot AB 13, 89-90
Memorial ID 22038 · View Source
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Naval officer and Sailor. Full name: Felix Graf von Luckner. Noted for commanding the German commerce raider SMS Seeadler (Sea Eagle) during World War I, from 1916-1917 with great success yet minimal casualties. Born into a noble family he always wanted to be a sailor--so much so that he ran away to sea at the age of 13, rather than follow the family tradition of serving in the cavalry. He was almost lost at sea on his first trip, falling overboard, but was rescued by the first mate contravening the captain's orders to sail on. He jumped ship in Australia and lived there for a number of years before returning to Germany at the age of 20. He passed his naval exams and served with the Hamburg Südamerikanische Line from 1908 until 1912, when he was called up into the German Navy. He served in the battles of Heligoland Bight and Jutland, the latter as gun turret commander aboard the battleship SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm. In 1916, he was given command of a converted three-masted ship which had been fortified with auxiliary engines, two cannon and machine guns to serve as a commerce raider. Her score was 15 ships sunk and one captured over approximately a nine month period in the Atlantic and South Pacific, before sinking in August 1917 in French Polynesia during a storm. He then attempted, using one of the ship's boats, to capture another ship to continue his raiding, but was captured in Fiji. He escaped from a POW camp and seized another ship, but was finally captured by New Zealand authorities in December of 1917. After the war, he became a Freemason and went on a speaking tour in the United States in 1926, which was well received. He was friends with the Heydrich family in his hometown of Halle, and it is likely that his stories inspired a young Reinhard Heydrich to join the German navy. In 1937 and 1938 he went on a world tour in his yacht, Seeteufel (Sea Devil), the nickname he earned form his exploits. The Nazi's tried to use him as a propaganda tool, but he was not entirely trusted by them due to his Masonic membership, which he refused to renounce. In 1943 he saved a young Jewish woman by providing her with a passport he'd found in a bomb crater, and he helped negotiate the surrender of Halle to American forces in 1945. After the war, he moved to Malmo, Sweden, with his Swedish wife. Between 1973 and 1975, a 39 part German/French TV show recounted his exploits.

Bio by: Kenneth Gilbert


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 5 May 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 22038
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Capt Felix “Der Seeteufel” von Luckner (9 Jun 1881–14 Apr 1966), Find A Grave Memorial no. 22038, citing Ohlsdorfer Friedhof, Ohlsdorf, Hamburg-Nord, Hamburg, Germany ; Maintained by Find A Grave .