Tuesday, November 27, 2007

all at sea

My great-grandfather, Julius Düsselmann, was a bit of an adventurer, but eventually settled down to have a family (lucky for me!). Apparently his cousin Walter never did. He sailed the seas all his life and survived some dangerous adventures. Here is what we know about him so far.

CV Walter Düsselmann

22.12.1882 born at Krefeld , parents: August Düsselmann (*1844) and Anna Josephine Hagermes

1904 Stewart on the ship Elfrieda, from Rotterdam to Portland, Oregon, arrival 21.5.

1913 11.10. Third officer on the Volturno, which burns out in the North Atlantic.
Even though 9 other ships come to help, the heavy weather makes any rescue efforts dangerous. Of 657 people on board, 136 die. See Volturno pages for a full account of the disaster.

1916 Second officer on the Libau, which is trying (but failing) to deliver arms to Ireland’s Easter revolution. The captain of the ship, Karl Spindler, writes a book about the adventure a few years later.

1921 Christmas. Dedication from Walter to his cousin Josephine Bender (1881-1966) in a copy of Spindler’s book he gave her for christmas.

17.10.1943 died in the war, not clear where.


Arthur Spurgeon: The burning of the Volturno, Cassell and Company Ltd. London, 1913.
Karl Spindler: Das geheimnisvolle Schiff. Die Fahrt der Libau zur irischen Revolution, August Scherl Verlag, Berlin, year?.
Mario Vargas Llosa: El sueño del Celta

PS (Jan 2012): A new(ish) blog dealing with the Volturno has come to my attention: Fire on the ocean
PS (Sept 2013): A page about the wreck of the Libau / Aud is here PS (Aug 2014): An English translation of Spindler's book, Gun running for Casement in the Easter rebellion, is freely accessible on Google Books.

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