Obituary: German WWII sailor dies in Uruguay
Friedrich Adolph was survivor of German battleship.
Article Launched: 06/09/2007 06:33:34 PM PDT
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay - Friedrich Adolph, the last surviving sailor in Uruguay from the famed German battleship Admiral Graf Spee that sank off this country's coast at the outset of World War II, has died, his family said. He was 89.
Adolph died Friday and had been "very sick," according to his grandson, Tobias Friedrich Adolph.
The Graf Spee was considered one of the most sophisticated battleships of its time.
The battleship prowled the South Atlantic, sinking as many as nine allied merchant ships before warships from Britain and New Zealand tracked it down and damaged it during the "Battle of the River Plate" that began on Dec. 13, 1939.
The damaged Graf Spee limped into Montevideo harbor where injured and dead sailors were taken ashore. To prevent it from falling into enemy hands, the Graf Spree's German captain later dynamited it and sank it a few miles from Montevideo.
Several German sailors who survived settled in Uruguay and others emigrated to Argentina.
Adolph was among those who remained in Montevideo. He was the last surviving sailor from the Graf Spee in Uruguay, but it was not immediately known if there are more survivors living in Argentina or elsewhere.
The ship has remained for decades in waters less than 30 feet deep only miles outside Montevideo.
In 2004, a recovery group using a barge with a crane raised a piece of an early radar system called a telemeter from the Graf Spee. In February 2006, they also removed a Nazi bronze eagle, weighing more than 800 pounds, from the ship's bow.
Adolph will be buried Saturday, his grandson said.
Graf Spee sailor dies.
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