Count Dohna and His SeaGull ©
Ships - Pungo Ersatz Meteor
SMS SeaGull SMS Moewe
Vineta Greenbrier Oldenburg
SMS SeaGull started the first Atlantic voyage on December 29, 1915 and was completed on March 4, 1916. On the map the outbound trip is shown in red and the return is shown in black.
Second Atlantic voyage started on November 22, 1916 and was completed on March 22, 1917. On the map the outbound trip is shown in red and the return is shown in black.
SMS SeaGull (in German Moewe) was built by J. C. Tecklenborg, Geestemuende, Germany. She was launched on May 9,1914 as Pungo for F. Laeisz specifically for the banana trade between the German protectorate of Cameroon and Hamburg. She was leased to the German Navy on November 2, 1915. Conversion to a raider began on December 4, at Kaiserliche Werft, in Wilhemshaven. She served the German Navy under the names SeaGull and Vineta. She was 385 feet in length, of 4,788 tons with a speed of 13 knots. She was equipped with wireless and refrigerated cargo spaces.
The SMS designation means "Seiner Majestaets Schiff" or in English "His Majesty's Ship". Moewe means "SeaGull" in German. Pungo was named for a banana tree plantation in the German colony of Cameroon. The ship was specifically built to carry bananas from this plantation to Hamburg, Germany.
On March 10, 1920, she passed to the British Shipping Controller as war reparations. In 1921 she became Greenbrier of the Elders and Fyffes Company, Liverpool, England. Her sister ship, Pionier was transferred to Elders and Fyffes at the same time and renamed Miami. On June 1, 1933 both ships were sold to Midgard Deutsche Seeverkehrs, Nordenham, Germany. Her old naval Commander as SeaGull, Count Nikolaus Dohna-Schlodien, attended the hand over ceremony. SeaGull was renamed Oldenburg and her sister ship was renamed Nordenham. They were used in the fruit transport trade.
Oldenburg was requisitioned at the start of World War II and served the German Navy as a transport ship. She was sunk on April 7, 1945 by Allied aircraft while moored at Vadheim, Norway. An ignoble end to the most noted ship of World War I.
Scuba divers frequently visit the wreck of Oldenburg.
In remembrance of the 10 souls lost while serving aboard SeaGull, during World War I. All but one of the deaths were the result of the encounter with the armed steamship Otaki, March 10, 1917.
- Stoker Fritz Gerner died January 17, 1917 in an accident while coaling.
- Stoker Hermann Botterbrodt died March 10, 1917.
- Stoker Otto Dohmke died March 10, 1917.
- Stoker Ludwig Gratz died March 11, 1917.
- Leading Stoker Martin Kruger died in the hospital at Kiel on March 23, 1917.
- Stoker Emil Lenz died March 10, 1917.
- Stoker Herrmann Oppermann died March 12, 1917.
- Stoker Heinrich Pungs died March 11, 1917.
- Machinist Mate Emil Sturm died March 10, 1917.
- Leading Stoker Wilhelm Wessels died March 15, 1917.
Following World War I, the Torpedo Boat SeaGull was built for the Germany Navy. She was launched March 24, 1926 and Christened by the eldest daughter of Count Nikolaus Dohna-Schlodien, Margarethe.
On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the last Allied ship sunk by the German Navy during World War II was lost. While supporting Operation Overlord, the allied landing force in Normandy, the Norwegian destroyer Svenner was torpedoed and sunk during an attack by German torpedo boats including SeaGull.
This SeaGull and her sisters Falke and Jaguar were sunk on June 15, 1944 by British Lancaster bombers while in the harbor at Le Havre, France. Twelve crewmen died when SeaGull was lost.
British Shipping Controller
RELATED WEB SITES:
Prisoners of War 1914-1918 British merchant seamen taken to Germany as POWs.
Dinosaurs in the Deep© The amazing story of dinosaur fossils in the ocean depths.
Das Bundesarchiv Official German war records archive site.
SMS Moewe German torpedo boat in WWII.
NAVAL OPERATIONS: Official History of the WWI, VOLUME III, by Julian Corbett.
DER MOEWE FAHRTEN UND UBENTEUER, by Graf zu Dohna, 1927.
HISTORY OF THE GREAT WAR, Seaborne Operations, by C. Ernest Fayle.
STRIKE AND STRIKE AGAIN, by Ian Gordon, 1995.
OFFICIAL HISTORY OF THE WAR, The Merchant Navy, by Archibald Hurd.
THE GRAND FLEET 1914-1916, by Admiral Viscount Jellicoe of Scapa.
THE STORY OF THE 455 (RAAF) SQUADRON, by John H. W. Lawson.
NAVAL OPERATIONS: Official History of the WWI, VOLUME IV, by Henry Newbolt.
THE KAISER'S COOLIES, by Theodor Plivier, 1931.
F L, A CENTURY AND A QUARTER OF REEDEREI F. LAEISZ, by H. C. P. Rohrbach, et al.
Last Revision: March 4, 2007.
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