Prisoner of War Model of the Austro-Hungarian battleship Viribus Unitis
WORLD WAR ONE
Alexandra Palace, London. No publisher 1915-1918.
A prisoner of war model of about 1:180 scale of SMS Viribus Unitis, skillfully and accurately made from scraps of wood, wire and cotton. mounted on a wooden plinth with a brass plaque, housed in a case measuring 95 by 23 by 45cm. The plaque states in German that the model was built by Ernest Koepsel and Oscar Varges, officers from SS Baden while interned in Alexandra Palace, London. Alexandra Palace Palace was requisitioned by the Government to be used first as a Belgian refugee camp and later as a German and Austrian internment camp for the duration of the War. SS Baden was sunk during the battle of the Falklands, on the 8th December 1914. Baden was a collier ship as part of the German force which planned to attack the Falklands, after the main German force was defeated, Baden was stopped and the crew ordered to leave the ships in 10 minutes time. The British entered, inspected the ships for hours and finally scuttled her. The crew of the Baden must have been merchant marine rather part Imperial German Navy, hence there confinement in an internment camp rather than a prison camp. SMS Viribus Unitis was an Austro-Hungarian dreadnought battleship, the first of the Tegetthoff class. "Viribus Unitis", meaning "With United Forces", was the personal motto of Emperor Franz Joseph I. Viribus Unitis was ordered by the Austro-Hungarian Navy in 1908 and was laid down in Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino shipyard in Trieste in July 1910 and launched in June 1911 and was formally commissioned into the Austro-Hungarian Navy on 5 December 1912. During World War I, Viribus Unitis took part in the flight of the German warships SMS Goeben and Breslau. In May 1915, she took part in the bombardment of the Italian port Ancona. Viribus Unitis was sunk while at anchor by a limpet mine planted by Raffaele Rossetti and Raffaele Paolucci, Italian naval officers, on 1 November 1918.There is a cutaway model of Viribus Unitis in the Museum of Military History in Vienna. The ship is in fine conditio, showing some signs of age with some loss to the rigging and the cotton where it has been used to depict the railings. A rare piece of naval history. THE MODEL IS ONLY AVAILABLE BY COLLECTION OR DELIVERY LOCALLY.