SMS Olga in the Samoa Hurricane of 1889.

SMS Olga Crew Stories - SMS Olga Besatzung Geschichten
of the men present at Samoa during the Hurricane.

SMS Olga, damaged and beached during the Samoa Hurricane of March, 1889.

The un-attributed images on this page are taken from the American Naval History and Heritage Command. Translations into German by Google Translator.

Thanks to a family member in Australia, I have been able to find out some data about just a German sailor who survived the wrecking of the SMS Olga, other than the names of a few other survivors from contemporary newspaper reports, and these are reproduced here. If any German descendant or other does find their way to this page, and has information they would like to share, please contact me and do so.

Because most of these names are taken from newspaper reports, I am not confident that the spelling is accurate. For the same reason, I cannot be sure the rank is correctly reported.

Where there is a photograph of a crew member, please DO NOT use the image for anything at all, without first asking my permission using the contact form. If I do not know the family contact, then I will not be able to give permission for its use. If I do know of a family contact, I will ask them if they give permission, so in the contact form, please give details of how and why you wish to use the image. If they are agreeable, or indeed if not, I will then reply to your enquiry. This is not intended to be awkward or unfriendly, I think it is simply good courtesy to ask first.

Otto Burchard, IGN

Otto Burchard, Imperial German Navy

This gentleman was wounded in the action in Samoa on 18th December, 1888 at Fangallii. A German contact has sent me a great deal of information about his family, which I am trying my best to translate. Otto was born 6th September 1865 and seems to have been a Lieutenant at Samoa. After his return to Germany in September 1889, on 1st June, 1896 he married one Friederike Wilhelmine Clara Goering, an older half sister of Hermann Goering from the latter´s father's first marriage.

The couple had four children before Otto died on 10th January, 1904 just a few months after his 39th birthday, apparently from those wounds received at Samoa. His eldest child, Marie Margarethe was not yet seven years old.

Details and image courtesy of Melissa Mueller.

Carl Schenke, IGN

Carl Schenke, Imperial German Navy

Years after these events, Carl entertained his children with his adventures after being shipwrecked on an "island full of snakes"! His daughter Freda was born in Balmain, New South Wales, Australia in 1893, which suggests Carl did not return home to Germany with Olga after the storm. At the time of starting his family, Carl was working in Sydney's "Mort's Dock", coincidentally the shipyard to which SMS Olga returned for repairs after the storm. In 1900, Carl was employed as a "Glass Presser", and lived in Spotswood, Melbourne, with his family. Carl Schenke passed away in Australia in 1911.

The photograph of Carl was taken in Cologne (Coln) Germany, sometime around 1888?

From looking at Carl's uniform badge on his left arm, the photograph may have been taken on the occasion of his attaining the rank of Boatswain's Mate (Bootsmannsmaat).

Details and image courtesy of Yvonne Knipe.

All known crew at Samoa:

BurchardLieutenantSurvived - Überlebt
EhrlichCaptain Lieutenant - KapitänlieutenantSurvived - Überlebt
Dr Elste Survived - Überlebt
H. EmsmannLieutenantSurvived - Überlebt
Baron F. Von ErhardtCorvette Captain - KorvettenkapitänSurvived - Überlebt
GrossmanEngineer - MaschinistSurvived - Überlebt
Schenke C.Boatswain - BootsmannsmaatSurvived - Überlebt
SchirmerLieutenantSurvived - Überlebt
ThiedePaymaster - ZahlmeisterSurvived - Überlebt

Source: The Maitland Mercury, 2nd April, 1889, plus family provided information.

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