Mutiny at Wilhelmshaven, 1918

David Woodward describes how the crews of the destroyer flotilla of the German High Sea Fleet mutinied at the end of the First World War.

On October 29th, 1918, the High Sea Fleet began to gather in Schillig Roads, outside Wilhelmshaven, the principal German naval base in the North Sea. The business of assembling the fleet was always lengthy, but on this occasion it was further delayed. Between 200 and 300 men from the battle cruisers Derfflinger and Von der Tann, lying in the dockyard, suddenly swarmed over the sides of their ships and disappeared into the town.

They were rounded up and brought back by the shore patrols without incident, but with the loss of some time. When the fleet was at last assembled, members of the crew of the battleship Markgraf gathered on their forecastle and began cheering for peace and for President Wilson. There had previously been trouble in the battleship König but this, it was believed, had been ended by a few arrests.

That same evening the admirals and commanding officers of the fleet were summoned to the fleet flagship Baden for a conference by the Commander-in-Chief, Vice Admiral Ritter von Hipper.

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