The Grosser Kurfurst

During exercises off Folkestone on 31 May 1878, a squadron of German navy ships was sailing in two columns destined for Plymouth, with the flagship SMS Koenig Wilhelm and SMS Preussen in one division and SMS Grosser Kurfurst making up the other.

As they were sailing under the cliffs, two small sailing craft crossed the bows of the German ships, provoking both Koenig Wilhelm and Grosser Kurfurst to make emergency manoeuvres.

The larger Koenig Wilhelm tore into the side of her companion, spilling sailors into the sea, ripping off armoured plating and tearing large holes into Grosser Kurfurst.

The damage was fatal, and the ship rapidly began to sink, with her compatriots and numerous rescue craft despatched from Sandgate and Folkestone pulling as many sailors from the wreck as they could. Despite this enormous effort, 284 of her crew drowned and almost 200 of those men now lay buried in a shared grave, in the grassed area around the memorial.

The records are incomplete – but we have found records for the men listed below – the virtual list is here:

C5738 Herr Bathe, C5739 Herr Hache, C5740 – Herr Kankenburg, C5741 – Herr Wisch, C5742 – Herr Gons, C5743 – Herr Peipe, C5744 – Herr Ernst, C5767 – H Poelmann, C5768 – Herr Werlich, C5769 – Herr Trendel, C5770 – Herr Grothe, C5771 – Herr Lorenz, C5772 – Herr Benson, C5773 – Herr Schomberg, C5796 – Herr Grauack, C5797 – Herr Dahl, C5798 – Herr Daase, C5799 – Herr Koch, C5800 – Herr Hagen, C5801 – Herr Houak, C5802 – Herr Preussner, C5825 – Herr Virlink, C5826 – Herr Reske, C5827 – Herr Frericks, C5828 – Herr Weber, C5829 – Herr Wichmann, C5830 – Herr Wolf, C5831 – Herr Haueisen, C5863 – Herr Sprunk, C5864 – Herr Vogel, C5865 – Herr Woll Man, C5866 – Herr Vissen, C5867 – Herr Bauman, C5868 – Herr Regel, C5869 – Herr Christian, C5870 – Luther Maby, C5892 – Herr Rorkener, C5893 – Herr Rethe, C5894 – Herr Peters, C5895 – Herr von Oesen, C5896 – Herr Folkuls, C5897 – Herr Fischer, C5898 – Herr Kuhn, C5899 – Herr Kenscher, C5930 – Herr Luik, C5931 – Herr Schmial, C5932 – Herr Butkus, C5933 – Herr Christianisen, C5934 – Herr Hasghagen, C5935 – Herr Kruger, C5936 – Herr Klugkist, C5937 – Herr Goscarooki, C5959 – Herr Weiss, C5960 – Herr Funk, C5961 – Herr Majeikurth, C5962 – Herr Zarnez, C5963 – Herr Probywiske, C5964 – Herr Wilhelm, C5965 – Herr Lange, C5966 – Herr Wink, C5997 – Herr Touor, C5998 – Herr Thelen, C5999 – Herr Apel, C6000 – Herr Renprischl, C6001 – Herr Thorme, C6002 – Herr Zinke, C6003 – Herr Owns, C6004 – Herr Kunmel, C6026 – Herr Sarnoskie, C6027 – Herr Kachuel, C6028 – Herr Kuripkat, C6029 – Herr Frank, C6030 – Herr Smiorfell, C6031 – Herr Kromples, C6032 – Herr Hierl, C6033 – Herr Schramm, C6064 – Herr Faulke, C6065 – Herr Kromp, C6066 – Herr Barnsonz, C6067 – Herr Schutt, C6068 – Herr Plath, C6069 – Herr Krabbe, C6070 – Herr Horn, C6071 – German Mariner, C6093 – Herr Muuzers, C6094 – Herr Schumaker, C6095 – Herr Bachaus, C6099 – Herr Paustian, C6100 – Herr Maezievosky, C6122 – Herr Suuke, C6123 – Herr Haukfeldt, C6124 – Herr Schoone, C6127 – Herr Werneburgker, C6128 – Herr Maacke, C6129 – E. Tetter, C6160 – H Müller, C6161 – H Müller, C6162 – Herr Deaiw, C6165 – Herr Lichteustein, C6166 – Herr Bruhue, C6167 – Herr Gurgensen, C6189 – Herr Reske