31st May 1875 – Anniversary of the sinking of the Grosser Kurfurst

On 31st May 1875 – the German ship SMS Grosser Kurfurst sank on her maiden voyage off the coast of Folkestone – and of the around 300 crew, almost 200 of those sea men were drowned.

The Grosser Kurfurst was sailing to Plymouth with her two sister ships, when unexpectedly a small fishing vessel turned in front of three ships, and as Grosser Kurfurst turned to avoid a collision it was rammed by the sister ship SMS König Wilhelm and sank within minutes.

Despite local fishermen and other locals doing their best to save the drowning men – almost 200 sea men were drowned, around 100 of those men are buried in the old Folkestone cemetery in the grassed area around the Grosser Kurfurst memorial.

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