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Luckner, The Sea Devil

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Photographs2924 of 4471Patriotic boy with Spanish American War support badgesSoldier with pistol and belt from Telluride CO
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Posted 6 years ago

(191 items)

After Dr._Rambow posted his WWI Germany group I was reminded of a photo sent to me by the curator of the Veterans Center Memorial Museum of Merritt Island, Florida. The photo is of Count Felix Von Luckner who was a German Navy commerce raider during WWI. His ship was a captured motorized sailing vessel which after a long and successful cruise came to grief on a reef. His exploits as the “Sea Devil” were made famous by two books written by Lowell Thomas; The Sea Devil’s Fo’c’sle and Count Luckner, The Sea Devil. In the photo Luckner is wearing a medal collectors dream of mostly Imperial German States medals plus at least one Turkish and one Austrian award. Around his neck is a Blue Max. On his chest are two medal bars with at least 19 medals in total that I can see. Below that is one large Order Breast Star surrounded by 5 first class crosses of various German States. If he was actually awarded all these it was probably as an honorary after thought by the various German States not wanting to be seen as neglecting such a famous hero. In the 1920’s he was a very popular speaker touring the US and some collector researchers suspect that he may have actually bought a few of the awards on his own. A spectacular medal grouping in any event.


  1. Dr_Rambow Dr_Rambow, 6 years ago
    At least one of his awards were veteran's association medals, and I'm guessing there are several more. Before the Honor cross consolidated all of the quite numerous commemorative medals in 1934, it wasn't unusual for vets to "pimp their medalbar" with such awards, making an average soldier look like a hero. Just check out this bar!

    The only legitimate award was the Iron Cross, which is ironically missing.

    It is also noteworthy that he wears his medals out of regulation order; he has one of the aforementioned veterans medals (top bar, 2nd from right) placed before official EK-level bravery and merit medals including the Friedrich August Cross, and ALL THREE Hanseatic crosses!

    At least he has his foreign (Austrian & Turkish) awards on the end, which is proper. Though, I don't know what medal is in between the Ottoman Merit Medal and his Austrian Merit Cross.
  2. Militarist Militarist, 6 years ago
    Good eye Dr_, even with the low res the ribbon attachment is clear. The cross between the Turk. and Aust. could be Bulgarian.
  3. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 6 years ago
    Dr_, I am impressed! I couldn't make out half that jumble!

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