HTBS has written on the subject of rowing clubs and War Memorials many times before. We have covered the monuments of British clubs Vesta, Marlow, Carrickfergus, Auriol and Kensington, and the four Nottingham clubs. Further afield, we have written about the impressive plaques in Vancouver Rowing Club in Canada and the wonderful outdoor monuments in Victoria, Australia.
I have often speculated what similar memorials exist, if any, in the defeated countries of both World Wars, the Central Powers of 1914-1918 and the Axis Powers of 1939-1945. A recent purchase from a German postcard dealer gave me at least one answer.
The inscription on the memorial translates as something like:
IN MEMORY OF
OUR COMRADES WHO FELL IN THE
WORLD WAR 1914 – 18
THE ROWING CLUB GERMANY
Presumably the names of the dead are on one or more plaques on the side(s). Ruder-Verein Deutschland (‘The Rowing Club Germany’) was founded in 1884 and in 1947 merged with Rudergesellschaft Hanover-Linden (‘The Rowing Society of Hanover-Linden’) founded in 1899. Together they now form the Deutscher Ruderclub von 1884 e.V. Hannover (‘The German Rowing Club of 1884’). It is based in Hanover, Lower Saxony, on the river Leine, a tributary of the Ihme.
Returning to the postcard, it apparently shows a simple but dignified and moving ceremony. It seems to have been taken in a period of silence and reflection and this comes over strongly. I find one thing that seems rather strange about the photograph, I get the impression that the fourteen men we see were the only people present, bar the photographer. Were there more who were simply out of the picture – or are these men the remnants of Ruder-Verein Deutschland as it existed five years earlier, the others lost in the ‘War to End All Wars’?