PHOTOGRAPH – NCO – SEEBATAILLON NR II
The Seebataillone were attached to the Imperial German Navy. Three Bataillone existed prior to WW I. Seebataillon Nr I was stationed at Kiel, Seebataillon Nr II was located at Wilhelmshaven, and Seebataillon Nr III was based at Tsingtao, China. [During WW I, the Seebataillon became the Marine Infanterie, which included an artillery component and even Marine (Aviation) Jastas. The Marine-Infanterie ballooned into three Divisions containing some 40,000 men by 1917]. Like the U.S. Marine Corps, the Seebataillone were responsible for security on larger naval vessels and at Germany’s embassies. [PLEASE NOTE: China-based Seebataillon Nr III was charged with security in the German-controlled territory].
The photograph we are offering today features a young Seebataillon NCO. The Marine, attired in his dunkel-blau uniform and schirmmütze, stands in front of a painted backdrop that depicts ships steaming at sea. He is holding his white gloves in his left hand, which is also resting against the pommel of his sword (the sword comes complete with its attached hangers and a light-colored sword knot). The 2.5″ x 3.5″ photograph is pasted onto a 4” x 6.5,” charcoal-colored, cardboard matte. The legend “PHOTOGRAPHIE K. HURTIG WILHELMSHAVEN” is printed in white script just below the photo’s lower right corner. The Wilhelmshaven location strongly suggests that the NCO belonged to Seebataillon Nr II.
Photographs from Imperial Germany’s Seebataillone are VERY hard-to-find.