Archives for July 2018


Felix von Luckner (

First World War destruction hit New Zealanders on the 18th September 1917 when the Wellington bound Cunard ship Port Kembla struck a mine and blew up just 18 kilometres from Cape Farewell. The German raider, Wolf had laid the mine.

The Wolf was not alone stalking Pacific shipping.

Nine months before the Port Kembla sinking, the sailing ship SMS Seeadler, under the command of the now legendary Count Felix von Luckner, set out on a three year voyage.  His mission was to disrupt the transport of soldiers and food from Australasian ports to the war in Europe. The Seeadler was not the innocent sailing ship she appeared. Flying the Norwegian flag, and carrying a hand picked crew, the innocent looking vessel was a lethal camouflaged raider that sailed into the adventure pages of a boy’s story book. Over a period of 225 days, the Seeadler sank 15 ships. Captain von Luckner carried false papers claiming his ship was the ‘Irma’, a trader bound for Melbourne. On her decks, canvas pig pens concealed two 105mm guns. There were secret doors to the holds and accommodation for prisoners. The ‘Irma’ also carried a large amount of bombs and machine guns. read more