Chinese Crewmen ?

Anything about the crew, families, origins, etc.
ufo
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Chinese Crewmen ?

Postby ufo » Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:21 pm

While the Hochseeflotte as well as the Bundesmarine left washing on long tours to foreign contractors, both Reichsmarine and Kriegsmarine carried civilian personnel for that purpose; usually Chinese nationals. Contrary to German civilian crew (barber, cobbler …) they were never listed in the crew rotas or mentioned in the diaries.

From the fate of auxiliary cruisers like Kormoran we know that the custom went well into the war years. But then for an Auxiliary Chinese nationals might be a useful addon also for disguise at close quarters. Did the heavy units continue carrying their foreign civilian personnel?

Did Graf Spee have Chinese with her at la Plata? And did Bismarck take down Chinese crewmen?

I do not know of any source mentioning Chinese nationals aboard Bismarck but that is far from surprising. The washing crew was rather valued and seen as an intricate part of the ship – mentioned only when one died and subsequent concern arose about burial at sea (a custom the Chinese did dislike for religious reasons) like on a training cruise of Karlsruhe in 35/36. Other than that they did not find more mentioning than a bollard or a depth charge rack.

But may be someone knows a little note, a scrap of information, a footnote … ?

Did Bismarck have civilian washing personnel with her?

Thanks,
Ufo

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RF
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Re: Chinese Crewmen ?

Postby RF » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:33 am

If there were this would have come out by now, not just from the survivors but also the relatives and other associates of such foreign nationals. They would be on file somewhere, someone would remember seeing them etc and from the lack of evidence it is likely the answer will be no.

Hilfskreuzer Kormoran and Michel did employ Chinese taken from the crews of merchant ships they sank. However, as from 9th December 1941 Germany was officially at war with China. The employment of enemy civilians is unlikely by the KM, although of course forced labour was widespread in Nazi Germany, particulary by the SS. And what happened to the Chinese on Michel is not clear, presumably they had to be handed over to the Japanese at Singapore.

It may also be worth noting that Korean labourers were ''employed'' in cleaning out the oil bunkers of the Uckermark when she was in Yokohama. This was at the time of the fatal explosion on Uckermark that also burned out the hilfskreuzer Thor. There were suggestions that the explosion was a Soviet inspired sabotage....
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RF
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Re: Chinese Crewmen ?

Postby RF » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:39 am

ufo wrote:Did Bismarck have civilian washing personnel with her?
Thanks,
Ufo


For a definitive answer it might be worth consulting Malte Gaack, the compiler of the Bismarck crew list, who I believe is a member of this website, or failing that, maybe Jose has his contact details.
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