Who's Who - Ludwig von Reuter

Ludwig von Reuter Ludwig von Reuter (1869-1943) commanded the German High Seas Fleet when it was surrendered to the British Royal Navy at Scapa Flow under the terms of the armistice.

Reuter's wartime service was spent chiefly in command of cruisers until he was appointed by High Seas Fleet commander Franz von Hipper to command of his scouting group.

With Germany's defeat the terms of the armistice required that her High Seas Fleet be surrendered to the British at the latter's main base of Scapa Flow.  This took place during the latter half of November 1918.

However on the final day of the deadline allotted by the Allies for German acceptance of the Versailles peace terms - 21 June 1919 - von Reuter issued a secret codeword to all German ships in Scapa Flow ordering that they be scuttled ("Paragraph Eleven.  Confirm.").  He was fearful that if the German government did not accept the Allied terms the High Seas Fleet would be seized by the Royal Navy.

In the event the deadline for acceptance of terms had been extended by two days, and the German government bowed to the inevitable and accepted - reluctantly and with much protest - the handing over of her fleet to the British.  However this was prevented by von Reuter's success in sinking some 66 of his own vessels on 21 June.

Returning to Germany the following year von Reuter was heralded as a hero, the man who saved the Germany Navy's honour and prestige.

He died in 1943.

'Bantam' was a term to describe members of battalions between 5ft 1in and 5ft 4in.

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