This is a posed studio
photograph probably taken in Germany sometime around 1904. It shows Seesoldat
Werner Schlotte of the I. Seebataillon.
He wears the
Seebataillon Dark Blue Home Uniform
(see right) with collar, cuffs and piping in white with yellow Litzen
on the collar and cuffs. The insignia on the shoulder straps is also
yellow and shows an imperial crown above two crossed anchors above the
battalion numeral II. The tunic has plain domed
brass buttons on the front, cuffs and rear skirts and smaller brass
buttons with the company number holding the shoulder straps.
Of interest and only barely visible in the
original photograph due to the nature of orthochromatic film (see the
lightened close up to the left) is the specialist insignia of a
telegraphist worn on the lower left sleeve. It takes the form of a
dark blue oval patch with two crossed yellow metallic lightening bolts
Specialist Insignia Page).
His trousers are matching
dark blue with white piping.
Notice the curious way in which old
orthochromatic film shows yellow (on the Litzen and shoulder strap
insignia) as a very dark colour, much
darker than natural. This was caused by the inferior
photographic techniques of the time. See the
Pickelhaubes Forum for more information on orthochromatic film.
On a table to his right is
his shako. The shako of the Seebataillone was of the design as for the
army's light infantry, the "Jäger". It was of black leather,
with front and rear peaks. The Seebataillone wore a brass imperial
eagle superimposed over a naval anchor on the front with an oval
imperial cockade at the top (see below right). Note also the brass
chinscales worn across the helmets' front peak.
He wears a black
leather belt with an other ranks naval belt buckle (brass with a white
metal centre bearing the imperial crown inside a wreathed motto "Gott
mit uns" - see
Belt Buckle Details Page). From the left side of the
belt is hung a bayonet, although the exact model cannot be clearly
He carries a pair of white
gloves in his left hand. This curious addition is commonly seen in
posed photographs of the period. It is believed the practice was
started by the Kaiser Wilhelm II to make his noticeably smaller left
arm appear longer. It then became the fashion amongst the German armed
forces to carry a pair of gloves in one's left hand.
had quite a distinguished career in South West Africa serving in
the Marine Expeditionskorps, the Landespolizei and the
Schutztruppe. As a member of the I. Seebataillon he first came to
South West Africa during the Herero War. After the war he served
in the Landespolizei as a Polizei-Sergeant. During the First World
War he was called up as a reserve staff sergeant ("Vize-Feldwebel
der Landwehr") in the Schutztruppe. He served in Leutnant Fricke's
radio/telegeraph troop ("Funkentelegraphentrupp") which
accompanied the Schutztruppe commander, Major Franke. Schlotte
earned the Iron Cross second class for his part in the campaign.