german Imperial German Navy - Kaiserliche Marine (1903-1919) SMS Seeadler (raider) (+1917)
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nationality german
purpose war
type clipper
propulsion sail and steam
date built 1878
weight (tons) 1571  grt
dimensions 83.5 x 11.8 x 5.5 m
material steel
engine 3 masts, fully rigged, 2600 m2 sail area, 1 shaft auxiliary diesel engine
armament 2 x 105mm guns
power 900  h.p.
speed knots
yard no. 237
about the loss
cause lost ran aground (wrecked)
date lost 02/08/1917  [dd/mm/yyyy]
about people
Robert Duncan & Co, Glasgow
last owner
[1]Imperial German Navy - Kaiserliche Marine (1903-1919)
SMS Seeadler (raider) (+1917)
period 1915 ~ 1917
prev. owners
[2]Harris Irby Cotton Co., Boston (US)
Pass of Balmaha
period 1878 ~ 1915
[3]Gibson & Clark, Glasgow
SV Pass Of Balmaha
period 1888 ~ 1908
IMO/Off. no.: 95087
captain Kapitänleutnant Felix Von Luckner
complement 64
about the wreck
depth (m.)
war grave
entered by Jan Lettens
entered 22/02/2009
last update Jan Lettens
last update 09/08/2013
Jan Lettens22/02/2009
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  The Wreck today  

Jan Lettens22/02/2009

After the war the owners of Pass of Balmaha, Harriss, Irby and Vose, investigated if the ship could be recovered.

It was determined to be impractical to refloat the ship and so the wreck was not disturbed.

The wreck of Seeadler at Molpelia Island has been explored by scuba divers.

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Jan Lettens12/07/2011SMS Seeadler was orginally the Pass of Balmaha, a beautiful clipper built in 1878 by Duncan & Co, Glasgow for the Harris Irby Cotton Co., Boston.

In world war 1, she was captured by the German submarine U-36 and to be used as a raider. She was armed with two hidden 105mm guns.

She was very succesful in her new function, as she managed to capture 16 ships for a total of 30,100 tons.

On 2nd August 1917, she ran aground on a reef at the island of Mopelia. With a crew of five, Kapitänleutnant Felix von Luckner set sail in an 32-foot launch for the Fiji Islands. On arrival at Wakaya Island they were taken prisoners.

The 58 crew remaining at Mopelia captured the French schooner Lutece of 126 tons on 5th September 1917 and sailed to Easter Island as Fortuna under the command of Lieutenant Alfred Kling. On 4th October they arrived and ran aground again 2 days later at Hanga Roa. On 13th February 1918 the crew sailed again on the Chilean schooner Falcon to Talcahuano, Chile arriving 4th March. There they were interned by the Chilean Government.

Finally, on 9th August 1919, after 2 years crossing the Atlantic and Pacific, surviving 2 shipwrecks, they were released from internment and could return home.
ref. used:
Jan Lettens24/07/2011List of ships sunk by SMS Seeadler

09/01/1917 Gladys Royle SS
10/01/1917 Lundy Island SS
21/01/1917 Charles Gounod
24/01/1917 Perce
03/02/1917 Antonin
09/02/1917 Buenos Ayres
19/02/1917 Pinmore
26/02/1917 British Yeoman
27/02/1917 La Rochefoucauld
05/03/1917 Dupleix
11/03/1917 Horngarth
15/06/1917 A. B. Johnson
18/06/1917 R. C. Slade
08/07/1917 Manila
ref. used:
Jan Lettens28/01/2012The French 3_masted steel barque CAMBRONNE was built in 1896 by Société des Ateliers et Chantiers de Normandie Laporte et Cie, Rouen for Société des Voiliers Nantais, Nantes.

She had 4 sisterships: REINE BLANCHE, CANROBERT, GENERAL NEUMAYER and AMIRAL TROUDE. In 1907 she was bought by A.D. Bordes.

On March 1917, the CAMBRONNE was captured in the South Atlantic by the German raider SEEADLER (Von Luckner). Instead of sinking her, the Germans transfered 233 prisoners captured from earlier ships sunk (DUPLEIX, CHARLES GOUNOD, LA ROCHEFOUCAULD, and ANTONIN). Luckner let them freely depart for Rio de Janeiro, where they all safely arrived.

On July 8th, 1917, CAMBRONNE, on a voyage from Antofagasta to Brest with a cargo of nitrate, was sunk by the German submarine UC-72 (Ernst Voigt), 200 miles from Île de Seine.

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Laheyne Daniel20/09/2014[FR]

Seeadler SMS (raider) (+1917) document

• Comte Félix de Lukner, commandant du voilier pirate 'L’Aigle de la mer' : « Le dernier corsaire (1914~1918) », éd. Payot, Paris, Collection de mémoires, études et documents pour servir à l’histoire de la guerre mondiale, 1928, 255 p., 15 gravures.

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About Owners
Imperial German Navy - Kaiserliche Marine (1903-1919)

Kaiserliche Marine or the German Imperial Navy is the name for the German Navy between 1903 and 1919. Most of the ships had a prefix SMS, Seine Majestäts Schiff, which is the equivalent of HMS, Her/His Majesty's Ship.

This Navy should not be confused with Reichsmarine (1920-1935) or Kriegsmarine (1935-1945).
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