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Kriegsmarine officer cadet photograph album from the shakedown cruise of the SSS Albert Leo Schlageter.

1937-38 Stock Code: 111525
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A fascinating survival from the pre-war Kriegsmarine: a photograph album kept by a naval cadet serving on the three-masted school ship the SSS Albert Leo Schlageter, one of five such ships built by Blohm & Voss at Hamburg. She was launched on 30 October 1937 - the cadet's portrait is dated 31.10.37, the day after - and her first commander was Fregattenkapitän (later Admiral) Bernhard Rogge, who commanded a merchant raider during the Second World War. The ship took its name from the Freikorps officer Albert Leo Schlageter who was executed by the French in 1923 for conducting sabotage operations in the French-occupied Ruhr; he subsequently became a hero to the Nazis. The Schlageter's sister ship was the Horst Wessel.

The cadet is unidentified but a photograph of him in "civvies" (dated by hand as 1936 and naming him as "Otto") on the opening page of the album has a Gottingen photographer's stamp on the verso and the other studio portrait in cadet uniform has the stamp of Genz, Stralsund.

The album opens with 8 pages devoted to scenes at the Dänholm naval academy. It is more than likely that "Otto" was training to become a U-Boat officer: "The standard training programme for a typical officer began with basic training which lasted around five months. On arrival at the officer training camp at Dänholm, a two-day physical fitness selection test was held. This was extremely strenuous and around 25 per cent of the intake usually failed... This was followed by sail training lasting four months on a three-masted sailing bark. It was extremely arduous, and fatalities were not unknown" (Gordon Williamson, Wolf Pack: The Story of the U-Boat in World War II, 2005, p. 153).

Following this are 24 pages of the Schlageter under sail and including scenes when they make land at Tenerife; life on board ship; games and exercises; atmospheric shots of the sister ship in the moonlight; returning to Dänholm (two small views of Kiel, including the Laboe Naval Memorial); 11 pages under sail again (plus photographs on the rear pastedown) and a visit to Trinidad (4 pages).

A remarkable record of life on board the maiden voyage of a renowned German training ship, illustrating the day-to-day life of a naval cadet on her shakedown cruise, when the ship's performance is tested for the first time in open waters. The Albert Leo Schlageter is still in service today, under the name NRP Sagres, with the Portugese navy.

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Oblong octavo (219 x 289 mm), 24 leaves dark grey mount paper (with "spider's web" tissue guards). Original rough cloth vertically streaked in cream, brown and green, silver-grey string ties, metal and felt Kriegsmarine cap cockade pinned through front cover.


Approximately 223 photographs (mainly measuring 86 x 58 mm, virtually all of them corner mounted), largely the work of the compiler but including a number of photographic "cigarette cards" (with captions and numbers printed on the verso) issued for propag


A few photographs loose otherwise in excellent condition.


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Established in 1969, Peter Harrington is one of the leading rare book firms in the world. It is a proud member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association – along with ILAB, the PBFA and Lapada – and from shops in Mayfair and Chelsea, London, sells rare books, prints and ephemera to customers across the world.

Email: mail@peterharrington.co.uk

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