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Captain Ernst Lindemann & his beloved ship Bismarck


Kapitan zur See Ernst Lindemann, 1894 - 1941
 
"It has been nearly fifty years since the Bismarck sank at 10.39 on 27 May 1941 She lies at 48º 10' north and 16º 12' west, not very far out in the North Atlantic, and yet the distance of an eternity from the shores of France. The end of her brief career foreshadowed the passing of the battleship era, of which she was a technical triumph and upon which she and her brave, fallen crew left an indelible mark."

"As captain of a flagship, Ernst Lindemann served in the shadow of his fleet commander, and did not have the opportunity to demonstrate the outstanding leadership of which he was capable."

Burkhard Baron von Müllenheim-Rechberg
 
Final moments of the Bismarck & her honorable captain
(from the book of Müllenheim Rechberg - Battleship Bismarck)
"When swimmers close to the bow of the ship looked back, they saw Lindemann standing on the forecastle in front of the turret Anton. His messenger, a seaman, was with him. Soon, both men went forward and began climbing a steadily increasing slope. Lindemann' s gestures showed that he was urging his companion to go overboard and save himself. The man refused and stayed with his commanding officer until they reached where the jackstaff had been. Then Lindemann walked out on the starboard side of the stem which, though rising ever higher was becoming more level as the ship lay over. There he stopped and raised his hand to his white cap.

The Bismarck now lay completely on her side. Then, slowly, slowly, she and the saluting Lindemann went down. Who among us knew that at this moment there was being fulfilled the demonically strange youthful yearning of a man who at the age of thirteen had conceived a passion for the navy and had then repeatedly told his brothers and friends that his 'greatest wish' was one day to command his own ship and to go down in her 'with colors flying' Later, a machinist wrote: "I always thought such things happened only in books, but I saw it with my own eyes." The time was 10.39 and the battleship's position was approximately 48º 10' north and 16º 12' west."
 
Ernst Lindemann's life & career in brief
- Was born in Alenkirchen / Westerwald in 1894.
- Entered the Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine) on 1 April, 1913.
- Cadet training aboard heavy cruiser SMS Hertha.
- Went to the Mürwik Naval School in April 1914.
- Was given sea duty in 1915.
- Oberleutnant zur See (Lieutenant) in 1920.
- Served aboard SMS Hannover.
- By 1925, promoted to Kapitanleutnant (Lieutenant Commander).
- Promoted to Korvettenkapitan (Commander) in 1932.
- Became first gunnery officer in pocket battleship DKM Admiral Scheer.
- Promoted to Kapitan zur see (Captain) in 1938.
- Appointed to DKM Bismarck in 1940.
- Died on board Bismarck on 27 May 1941.
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