Tirpitz was a pig captured from the Imperial German Navy after a naval skirmish (the Battle of Más a Tierra) following the Battle of the Falkland Islands in 1914. She became the mascot of the cruiser HMS Glasgow.
Pigs were often kept on board warships to supply fresh meat. Tirpitz was aboard SMS Dresden, when she was ordered into the South Atlantic to join with the forces of Vice Admiral Maximilian von Spee to raid Allied merchants. The ship's first encounter with HMS Glasgow was at the Battle of Coronel, where the German fleet was victorious. They were later defeated at the Battle of the Falkland Islands, though the faster Dresden managed to escape. She was located in Cumberland Bay on the Chilean island of Más a Tierra (today known as Robinson Crusoe Island), by HMS Glasgow and HMS Kent off the coast of South America on 15 March 1915. The Germans scuttled the ship, but Tirpitz was left on board as she sank.
Tirpitz was able to make her way above deck and swim clear of the sinking Dresden. She struck out for the nearby Royal Navy ships and was spotted an hour later by a petty officer aboard HMS Glasgow. The officer entered the water, but the frightened Tirpitz nearly drowned him. He was however eventually able to rescue the pig and bring her aboard. The animal was adopted by the crew of HMS Glasgow, who made her their mascot, and named her 'Tirpitz', after Alfred von Tirpitz, the German Admiral, and Secretary of State of the Imperial Naval Office. Tirpitz remained with the Glasgow for a year and was then placed in quarantine until she was allowed to be adopted by the Petty Officer who had first seen her, who transferred her to Whale Island Gunnery School, Portsmouth for the rest of her career.The Times newspaper reported:
The animal, which is known as 'Tirpitz', was once owned by the German light cruiser Dresden, and when, during the action with Glasgow, Kent, and Orama, the Germans escaped to the shore after causing an explosion which sank the Dresden, and 'Tirpitz' was left to its fate, the pig struck out boldly, and was seen swimming near the Glasgow. Two sailors dived into the sea, and the animal was brought safely aboard. The ship's company of the Glasgow awarded 'Tirpitz' an 'Iron Cross' for having remained in the ship after its shipmates had left, and it became a great pet.
Tirpitz was eventually auctioned off for charity as pork in 1919. She ultimately raised £1,785 for the British Red Cross.Tirpitz was bought by William Cavendish-Bentinck, 6th Duke of Portland, who donated Tirpitz's stuffed head to the Imperial War Museum. Tirpitz's head was put on display as part of the museum's original exhibition at The Crystal Palace in 1920, and also featured in the museum's 2006 temporary exhibition 'The Animals' War'.
Another of Tirpitz's legacies was bequeathed to the next HMS Glasgow, which retained a pair of silver mounted carvers made from Tirpitz's trotters. These carvers were later also acquired by the Imperial War Museum.
The Battle of Coronel was a First World War Imperial German Navy victory over the Royal Navy on 1 November 1914, off the coast of central Chile near the city of Coronel. The East Asia Squadron of the Kaiserliche Marine led by Vice-Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee met and overpowered a British squadron commanded by Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock.
The Battle of the Falkland Islands was a First World War naval action between the British Royal Navy and Imperial German Navy on 8 December 1914 in the South Atlantic. The British, after their defeat at the Battle of Coronel on 1 November, sent a large force to track down and destroy the German cruiser squadron. The battle is commemorated every year on 8 December in the Falkland Islands as a public holiday.
HMS Good Hope was one of four Drake-class armoured cruisers built for the Royal Navy around 1900; she was originally named Africa, but was renamed before she was launched. She became flagship of the 1st Cruiser Squadron of the Atlantic Fleet in 1906, and was the flagship of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron in 1908. She was reduced to reserve in 1913, but was recommissioned in mid-1914.
HMS Kent was one of 10 Monmouth-class armoured cruisers built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. She was placed in reserve when completed in 1903, but was recommissioned for the China Station in 1906. She remained there until she returned home in 1913 for a lengthy refit.
HMS Carnarvon was one of six Devonshire-class armoured cruisers built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. She was assigned to the 3rd Cruiser Squadron of the Mediterranean Fleet upon completion in 1905 and was transferred to the 2nd Cruiser Squadron of the Atlantic Fleet in 1907. She was assigned to the reserve Third Fleet in 1909 and became flagship of the 5th Cruiser Squadron of the reserve Second Fleet in 1912.
SMS Gneisenau was an armored cruiser of the German Kaiserliche Marine, part of the two-ship Scharnhorst class. Named for the earlier screw corvette of the same name, the ship was laid down in June 1904 at the AG Weser shipyard in Bremen, launched in June 1906, and commissioned in March 1908. She was armed with a main battery of eight 21 cm (8.3 in) guns, a significant increase in firepower over earlier German armored cruisers, and she had a top speed of 22.5 knots. Gneisenau initially served with the German fleet in I Scouting Group, though her service there was limited owing to the British development of the battlecruiser by 1909, which the less powerful armored cruisers could not effectively combat.
HMS Belfast is a Town-class light cruiser that was built for the Royal Navy. She is now permanently moored as a museum ship on the River Thames in London and is operated by the Imperial War Museum.
SMS Leipzig was the sixth of seven Bremen-class cruisers of the Imperial German Navy, named after the city of Leipzig. She was begun by AG Weser in Bremen in 1904, launched in March 1905 and commissioned in April 1906. Armed with a main battery of ten 10.5 cm (4.1 in) guns and two 45 cm (18 in) torpedo tubes, Leipzig was capable of a top speed of 22.5 knots.
Admiral Scheer[ˌatmiˈʁaːl ʃeːɐ̯] was a Deutschland-class heavy cruiser which served with the Kriegsmarine of Nazi Germany during World War II. The vessel was named after Admiral Reinhard Scheer, German commander in the Battle of Jutland. She was laid down at the Reichsmarinewerft shipyard in Wilhelmshaven in June 1931 and completed by November 1934. Originally classified as an armored ship (Panzerschiff) by the Reichsmarine, in February 1940 the Germans reclassified the remaining two ships of this class as heavy cruisers.
SMS Dresden was a German light cruiser built for the Kaiserliche Marine. The lead ship of her class, she was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in 1906, launched in October 1907, and completed in November 1908. Her entrance into service was delayed by accidents during sea trials, including a collision with another vessel which necessitated major repairs. Like the preceding Königsberg-class cruisers upon which her design was based, Dresden was armed with ten 10.5 cm (4.1 in) SK L/40 guns and two torpedo tubes.
HMS Otranto was an armed merchant cruiser requisitioned by the British Admiralty when World War I began in 1914. Built before the war for the UK–Australia run as SS Otranto, she was primarily used in the war to search for German commerce raiders. She played small roles in the Battle of Coronel in November 1914 when the German East Asia Squadron destroyed the British squadron searching for it and in the Battle of the Falklands the following month when a British squadron annihilated the Germans in turn.
HMS Monmouth was the name ship of her class of 10 armoured cruisers built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. The ships were also known as the County Cruisers.
HMS Glasgow was one of five ships of the Bristol sub-class of the Town-class light cruisers built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. Completed in 1910, the ship was briefly assigned to the Home Fleet before she was assigned to patrol the coast of South America. Shortly after the start of the First World War in August 1914, Glasgow captured a German merchant ship. She spent the next several months searching for German commerce raiders. The ship was then ordered to join Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock's squadron in their search for the German East Asia Squadron. He found the German squadron on 1 November off the coast of Chile in the Battle of Coronel. They outnumbered Cradock's force and were individually more powerful, sinking Cradock's two armoured cruisers, although Glasgow was only lightly damaged.
The German East Asia Squadron was an Imperial German Navy cruiser squadron which operated mainly in the Pacific Ocean between the mid-1890s until 1914, when it was destroyed at the Battle of the Falkland Islands. It was based at Germany's Kiautschou Bay concession in China.
The Monmouth class was a ten-ship class of 10,000-ton armoured cruisers built around 1901 to 1903 for the Royal Navy and designed specifically for commerce protection. The ships were also referred to as County class cruisers as they carried the names of British counties.
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The Dresden class was a pair of light cruisers built for the Imperial German Navy in the early part of the 20th century. The class comprised SMS Dresden, the lead ship, and SMS Emden. Both ships were laid down in 1906; Dresden was launched in 1907, and Emden followed in 1908. They entered service in 1908 and 1909, respectively. The design for the ships was an incremental improvement over the preceding Königsberg class, being slightly larger and slightly faster, but with the same primary armament of ten 10.5 cm (4.1 in) guns. Dresden and Emden were powered by steam turbines and triple expansion engines, respectively, as part of continued experiments with the new turbine technology.
The Battle of Más a Tierra was a World War I sea battle fought on 14 March 1915, near the Chilean island of Más a Tierra, between a British squadron and a German light cruiser. The battle saw the last remnant of the German East Asia Squadron destroyed, when SMS Dresden was cornered and scuttled in Cumberland Bay.
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