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Online Library of Selected Images -- Picture Data

Photo #: NH 82428 (extended caption)

Köln (German Light Cruiser, 1930-1945)

Underway, circa the early 1930s.
This photograph was presented as a gift to Mrs. Ruth M. Bence at the time of the ship's visit to Guam in late June 1933.
See below for her comments on Köln's stay at Guam.

Donation of Mrs. Ruth M. Bence, 1975.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

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Comments by Mrs. Ruth M. Bence, provided in 1975. In 1933 she and her husband, Lieutenant Clarence E. Bence, USN, were stationed at Guam.

"From the writeup I did while I still had the details on tap. My two girls were teenagers at the time."

"On June 30th, 1933 the German Cruiser 'KOELN' made us a visit on a Round the World Tour. Before it arrived all officer personnel were asked to entertain an officer or some cadets and be their official hosts during the visit. We decided to give our teenagers a break & volunteered to entertain 4 cadets, all tall."

"Governor and Mrs. Root gave a garden party & reception for the incoming Governor Alexander (both Root and Alexander were Navy Captains) and the officers & cadets from the KOELN. Clarence & I went to this affair where we met our four cadets. However, Lieut. Von Mudhlendahl, radio officer on the KOELN, had himself introduced to Clarence as he wanted to discuss communications with him. It developed that he had not been assigned to anyone in Guam so we invited him to come home with us also. It was a bit awkward because evidently officers & cadets did not mingle socially. However after dinner the Knowles (Navy Doctor) brought down their two cadets and their victrola and the young folks danced at one end of the lanai (it was 10' wide by 60' long) while the rest of us sipped our drinks and chatted at the other end."

"The KOELN stayed a week & one afternoon the girls & I had coffee aboard with Lt M. and had a partial tour of the cruiser. Everything was very clean & neat & the crew, working with nothing on above the belt, were a perfect physical example of what the Nazis were hoping to build as the 'Master Race'. The cadets were all on duty. As mascots on the ship they had a lion cub that roamed at will, a kangaroo that did likewise, and a tiny puppy whose name was 'Whiskey". The Lt. was quite annoyed with the lion cub who had wandered into his room while he was absent and chewed a hole in a woven rug he had bought in Suva."

"Of our four cadets two were German, one Polish & I think the other was Russian. We liked the Lt. very much. He had spent a couple of years in the US and spoke English very well. He was anxious to get home and see his first baby, a boy, who had been born during his absence. We had an urgent invitation to visit him and his family in the Black Forest but never made it and have often wondered what happened to him and his little family in WWII."

"The name on the picture I do not recall. It is likely that these recollections are interesting only to me but use any part if you wish. I have set down only part of that week which was a series of parties ashore & on board all week."

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15 January 2003