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To Admiral von Spee and the Men of His Squadron, Who Died Off the Falkland Islands, December 8, 1914

By Frederick H. Martens

OUTRANGED, outnumbered—not outfought—

In foreign seas you found your grave:

True to the creed that honor taught,

Firm in the faith that makes men brave.

It is no shame to strive and yield,

The battle lost, to bow to Fate;

Yet nobler, on the stricken field,

To die unconquered and elate.

To leave no trophy to the foe:

While battle-flags defiant wave

To sink, and fathoms deep below

Still guard your guns to mark your grave!

Martens, Frederick H. “In Memoriam.” The Fatherland 1, no. 20 (December 23, 1914): 12.

Martens, Frederick H. “In Memoriam.” The Fatherland 1, no. 20 (December 23, 1914): 12.


Admiral von Spee

Maximilian Reichsgraf von Spee (1861–1914) commanded the German East Asiatic Squadron at the start of the war. Vice Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee (1859-1925), commander of the British naval force, defeated the squadron in the Battle of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic on December 8, 1914. Spee’s ship, HMS Scharnhorst, was sunk; he went down with his ship. His two sons also died in the battle.

Rahn, Werne. “Spee, Maximilian Reichsgraf von.” In Neue Deutsche Biographie 24 (2010), 643–44. https://www.deutsche-biographie.de/pnd119283891.html#ndbcontent.

Massie, Robert K. Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea. New York: Ballantine Books, 2003, 181, 190, 195–96.

Halpern, Paul G. “Falklands, Battle of the.” In 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, edited by Ute Daniel, Peter Gatrell, Oliver Janz, Heather Jones, Jennifer Keene, Alan Kramer, and Bill Nasson. Freie Universität Berlin, 2014–. Article published January 29, 2015. https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/falklands_battle_of_the.

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