Lieutenant Richard Pries, prize or boarding officer in Seeadler

Blaine Pardoe, in his note of thanks for your help mentioned Richard Preis, the Prize Officer. (See "Tid-bits from the book, Cruise of the Sea Eagle, by Blaine Pardoe") Can you tell me anything about him. Why Pardoe sees him as a possible villain.
Thanks, Mike Jackson


Thank you for your mail, I will try to answer your question in the main, from how Richard Pries comes across in Blaine's book.

The Boarding or Prize Officer's task was both onerous and dangerous, with his boarding party going onboard captured and hostile ships, they might face angry crews, and the B O needed to be tough.

von Luckner ran into an old acquaintance on the Hamburg docks, a Lieutenant he had been to school with at the Lubeck Navigation College, and had sailed with earlier. This was Lieutenant Richard Pries, a large man at 6 foot 4 inches, taller than the Count's 6 feet, and Pries oozed muscled bulk. He had a round mustached face, thick muscles of wrestler, and his uniform always seemed to be straining against his size. von Luckner invited him to join Seeadler, and Pries agreed.

He was the only crew member recruited by von Luckner, the rest were previously chosen by Lieutenant Kling ( the count's No 2 ) then interviewed by v L who accepted all of Kling's choices.

Prisoners aboard Seeadler later reported that Pries was arrogant, although the Count described him as " gallant. "

After Seeadler had been wrecked at Mopelia Island, and von Luckner took off into the Pacific in one of her launches rigged out to sail, which he named Kronprinzessin Cecilie, he sailed with 5 men he selected with care, and interestingly enough, Richard Pries was not amongst them. Alfred Kling was left in command.
The wreck of Seeadler was a constant worry for Kling, her tall masts could be seen for 15 miles, he thought they may well attract enemy Military to their position ashore. Kling ordered Pries to take a small party on board the wreck, and bring the masts down.

Off they went, and Pries placed explosive charges to cut down the tall masts, these went off with a blast, and down toppled the masts.

But, the diesel fuel tank vents, close by, had been left open, Pries should have ordered them closed before detonating his explosives,, and now the diesel fuel caught fire, and very soon was totally out of control. Close to the fire were some 4.2 inch cannon shells, getting hot, and they would soon be likely to cook off, Pries and his team beat a hasty retreat. There was an explosion, blowing the hull plating free.

Seeadler now burned for five days, billowing a pall of black smoke into the sky, doing more to possibly attract attention then the tall masts had ever done. The fire, a direct result of Pries not paying more attention, and shutting the diesel vents before setting off his explosives.

Tension between Kling and Pries, previously simmering now came to the boil.

In the War Diary, Pries noted he would no longer follow Kling's orders, he also involved other crew members plus the Doctor, he was ignoring the authority of the Commanding Officer, refusing to serve in any vessel commanded by Kling.

Kling recorded events, such as Pries was in violation of following the orders of a superior Officer, he was charged with inciting rebellion with the Officers and crew, in a word it was MUTINY.

Pries probably remains an enigma, as stated, prisoners thought him arrogant, cocky, something of a braggard, and a bully.

The Count, although his friend saw fit to exclude him in his five crew in K C.
He was in charge of Seeadler when she ran aground, and his negligence set fire to her.
He refused to follow Kling's orders, but he just disappeared in later years, he managed to avoid a court martial after WW1 for his mutinous behaviour, the Count seems to have helped supress any court martial.

Mike, I guess thats it, about all I can do to describe Richard Pries for you.

Hope it suffices.

Mac. Gregory.

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