And now for something completely different:
SMS König Wilhelm
Originally, the ironclad frigate ordered by the Ottoman Empire as Fatih
in 1865 and built in England. However, during construction in 1867, the ship was bought by Prussia and renamed Wilhelm I
, but soon later, she was renamed again to König Wilhelm
. She was launched on April 25th 1868 and comissioned on Februrary 20th 1869 as part of the Federal Fleet of the North German Federation, a precursor to te later German Empire founded in 1871. Until the comissioning of the Brandenburg
-class battleships in 1891, König Wilhelm
was the largest ship in the German fleet.
In 1895 König Wilhelm
was withdrawn from active duty to undergo a massive refit into an armoured cruiser. The sails and masts were removed and replaced with modern fighting masts. Weaponry was increased with additional cannons and torpedo tubes. She returned to active duty on Janurary 25th 1897.
It was this ship that Kaiser Wilhelm II chose to represent Germany at the fleet review at Spithead on the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria (the Kaiser's Grandmother) in June 1897.
With the advancements in technology and ship construction, the age of broadside ironclads had come to an end. In 1904, König Wilhelm
was withdrawn from active duty and refitted into a barracks and training ship for cadets. She first served in this form at the naval academy in Kiel, but was moved in 1907 to the Academy at Flensburg-Mürwik. From 1910 onwards, she was supported by SMS Charlotte
, an old cruiser frigate which had been converted in a similar way. In 1917, the old light cruiser SMS Medusa
replaced SMS Charlotte
In this form, König Wilhelm
survived World War I and the next few years, but in 1921, she was finally decomissioned and sold for scrap. Her career had lasted 52 years and no less than three different German states.
Any help and source material is always welcome.