The Sinking of the Leon Gambetta

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by liverpool annie, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Memberéon_Gambetta

    Just as an aside ... I found this interesting !! :)

    Lt. Cdr. Georg von Trapp, who was knighted for his exploit in sinking the Gambetta. Von Trapp went on to command the main Austro-Hungarian sub base at Cattaro, to be promoted admiral, to emigrate to Vermont after the Anschluss (annexation by Nazi Germany), to found a resort with his second wife Maria. Much later, in the 1960s, the couple achieved worldwide fame through the Broadway and film musical The Sound of Music, loosely based on their romance as told from her point of view. Although the family has expressed frustration with the many liberties Rogers & Hammerstein took to make their story more appealing, one assumes the von Trapps were glad to get their royalty checks over the years.

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  2. Dolphin

    Dolphin New Member

    Ah! The Sound of Music - a mate of mine once said that it was the only film that he'd watched where he hoped that the Nazis would win.

  3. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Georg doesn't look anything like Christopher Plummer does he ?? :D
  4. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    George Ritter von Trapp

    Birth - Apr. 4, 1880
    Death - May 30, 1947

    The Captain von Trapp of the “Sound of Music” (1965) fame. Unfortunately, the musical takes some liberties with the true story of the von Trapp Family.

    Born Georg Trapp in Zara, Croatia (then a part of the Austria-Hungary Empire), in 1894, he followed his father’s Navy career by entering the naval academy in Fiume. Graduating in 1898, he completed two years of cadet training, including a trip to Australia. While visiting the Marquesas Islands in the Pacific, he fell in love with the islands and always harbored a dream of returning there, even though he never did. In 1900, he was assigned to the cruiser ‘Queen Maria Theresia’ and was decorated for his performance of duty during the Boxer Rebellion in China. Fascinated by submarines, in 1908, he transferred to the newly created U-Boat Division, and in 1910, he was given command of the newly commissioned Austrian submarine U-6. On March 1, 1912, he married Agathe Whitehead, an Englishwoman; they would have seven children. On April 22, 1915, he took command of the submarine U-5, conducting nine combat patrols, and in October 1915, he was given command of the captured French submarine ‘Curie,’ which was redesignated as the U-14, conducting ten additional war patrols. Overall, he sank 12 cargo ships, totaling 45,670 tons, and two warships, the French cruiser ‘Leon Gambetta’ (12,600 tons) and the Italian submarine ‘Nereide’ (225 tons).
    In May 1918, he was promoted to Captain and given command of the submarine base on the Gulf of Cattaro. At the end of World War I, he was awarded a knighthood (adding the titles Ritter and von to his family name), and the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Maria Theresia. Settling down in Salzburg, Austria, tragedy struck the family in 1922, when Agathe died of scarlet fever, and he began to raise the family by himself. In 1926, the Mother Abbess of the Nonnberg Benedictine Convent sent novice Maria Augusta Kutschera to be the governess to the children of Captain von Trapp. Very quickly, the two fell in love, and on November 26, 1927, he married Maria, and she became the stepmother of 7 children. Two years later, Rosemarie von Trapp was born, the first child of Georg and Marie, and in 1931, Eleonore was born.
    During the Great Depression, when the family business failed, Georg started a chicken farm to support his family. In 1936, Maria and family friend Monsignor Franz Wasner began the Trapp Family Singers, and they soon became well known when they received high honors at the 1936 Salzburg Music Festival. In 1938, Austria and Nazi Germany were united in the Anschluss (Union), during which Georg made little secret that he was horrified at the rise of the Nazis. German dictator Adolph Hitler invited them to sing at his birthday celebration, but he declined. The Germans also offered Georg a commission as a Captain, with the command of a submarine base; again he refused. With increased Nazi pressure to embrace the new regime, the family decided to leave Austria for the United States.
    They initially settled down in Merion, Pennsylvania where their last child, son Johannes von Trapp, was born. In 1942, they purchased the old Gale Farm in Stowe, Vermont, which in 1950 became the von Trapp Family Lodge, offering guests sweeping mountain views in an Austrian style main lodge. Unfortunately, Georg died on May 30, 1947. In 1950, Maria published the family story in the book, “The Trapp Family Singers” which eventually was turned into a stage play (1959) and the movie, “The Sound of Music” (1965).
  5. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Heres an ironic snippet ....

    Agathe Von Trapp ( Georg's first wife ) was the daughter of John Whitehead who was the son of Robert Whitehead, one of the main inventors of the torpedo. Robert Whitehead (born 1823 Bolton Lancastershire) was English but worked mainly abroad as a marine engineer. He went into engineering because of his uncle William Swift.

    Robert Whitehead, the son of a cotton-bleacher, was born in Bolton on January 3rd, in 1823. After being educated at the local grammar school, Whitehead left at fourteen to become an apprentice engineer. For the next few years he attended Manchester's Mechanics Institute.

    In 1844 Whitehead went to work in France and three years later started his own business in Milan. By the 1850s Whitehead was working for the Austrian government. Whitehead had been asked to develop a new weapon for warships and with the help of his son, Robert, produced a floating torpedo. His first torpedo lacked speed and range. However, by 1870 he had managed to increase its speed to 7 knots and could now hit a target 700 yards away. The following year the British Navy purchased Whitehead's invention.

    Although a star torpedo, a charge attached to a long pole and carried by a small boat, had been used during the American Civil War, Whitehead was the first to produce a self-propelling torpedo. Whitehead's torpedo was propelled by a compressed-air engine, carried 18lbs. of dynamite. Its most important feature was a self-regulating device which kept the torpedo at a constant preset depth.

    Whitehead's torpedo was very popular and by 1881 his customers included: Britain (254), Russia (250), France (218), Germany (203), Denmark (83), Italy (70), Greece (70), Portugal (50) Argentina (40) and Belgium (40). Robert Whitehead died in 1905.

    Robert Whitehead (3 January 1823 – 14 November 1905) was an English engineer. He was born the son of a cotton-bleacher, in Bolton, England.
    He developed the first self-propelled torpedo in 1866. He thus introduced the world to a weapon that almost changed the course of history during both World Wars.
    "But for Whitehead, the submarine would remain an interesting toy, and little more" - RN Admiral H.J. May, 1906
    "The only thing that really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril" - Sir Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister during WWII.
    Whitehead would eventually leave his assets to his granddaughter Agathe Whitehead who, in 1911, would be married to naval commander Georg Ludwig von Trapp who would use the torpedoes in his submarines in World War I.
    Whitehead is buried at the Parish Church of St Nicholas, Worth in Crawley West Sussex with his wife. His grave is visible from the church gate at the left hand side of the church, and is encompassed with blue railings. His epitaph reads "His fame was known by all nations hereabouts".

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  6. cally

    cally New Member

    Two pictures of the ill-fated French cruiser Leon Gambetta.

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  7. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    As always thanks for the pictures !! :D

    Wonder who autographed the second one ??

    Nosey Annie :rolleyes:
  8. cally

    cally New Member

    Thanks Annie!

    Ha Ha - from a distance the autograph looks like a drunken "Cally!"

    It is funny although I literally have thousands and thousands of postcards I hardly ever look at the back - yet my wife often glances at what is written. Perhaps its a "girlie" trait!! [As you said nosey!!]

    Anyway the reason i am saying this is that it is all about to change and I can see me systematically reading all of the backs [phew! will take me a while]. This revelation is due to last week whilst reading the back of a late 1930`s Liner postcard I recently bought she pointed out that it was full of autographs of famous people who had been sailing on that voyage. [Clark Gable plus many Lords and Ladies!!]

    Goes to show!!
  9. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    You'd best check them out Cally ... you could be sitting on a fortune !!!!! :D

    Us "girlies" like that kind of stuff !!!
  10. cally

    cally New Member

    Could be right in more ways than one!

    I know someone who collects rare postmarks and for ages he has been nagging at me to let him go through my cards to see if there are any rare examples amongst them. Apparently some very rare ones can fetch as much as £50. I suppose it all depends how valuable/important the card is to me anyway.
    I must admit I would not know a valuable post mark if it leapt up and bit me in the proverbial!!

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