Werner Böttner  
  Werner Böttner

Stoker 2nd Class

Werner Böttner

Electrical plant

* 23.4.1921 in Hörselgau (Thuringia) – † 27.5.1941

Stoker 2nd Class  
Gerhard Gränitz Germany 1921

Germany (1921)


Martina Rohmann (Niece) / Hörselgau

Werner Böttner was born on 23 April 1921 to Georg and Elsa Böttner in the small village of Hörselgau in Thuringia. Located on the banks of the Hörsel River between Erfurt and Eisenach in the northern foothills of The Thuringian Forest, Hörselgau had a population of some 1,000. Werner grew up on the family farm; his father was a master cartwright, his mother a homemaker. After elementary school Werner started job training as a metalworker and got his certificate in 1938. Then he decided to volunteer for the Kriegsmarine. In August he underwent the military physical examination at the Military Regional Headquarters in Gotha and was found fit for service. The end of October 1938 he was told to report for duty on 1 October 1939. Before reporting to the Kriegsmarine, Werner had to do his service in the State / National Labor Service which started on 1 April 1938. Shortly thereafter, on 20 April, Hitler’s birthday, the young workmen took the oath.

Electricians’ Course III

Electricians’ Course III

Badge for specialtraining

The red embroidered badge for specialtraining was worn by Petty Officer Second Class and Sailors underneath the rankbadge.

Stoker 3rd Class Werner Böttner during his home leave in Hörselgau winter 1940/41. The political situation in Europe was escalating intensively. The tensions culminated in the invasion of Poland, starting the Second World War. Werner Böttner was transferred to Baukompanie 1 / 216. It was one of many such Baukompanies deployed in the invasion and carried out engineering tasks behind the front lines. Although it is not clear whether 1 / 216 was deployed in the Polish Campaign, it is highly likely. He was discharged from the State Labor on 9 September and, on 1 October 1939, reported to Kriegsmarine basic training with the 5th Training Depot in Eckenförde. The new recruits underwent infantry training until 30 January 1940. Werner was especially good at marksmanship and was awarded the marksmanship lanyard.

Afterwards he attended the Electricians’ Course III at the Navy School in Kiel. (Because of his job training, Werner had chosen the Engineering MOS.) Towards the end of the course, Werner was assigned to the battleship Bismarck which was still under construction in Hamburg. He reported for duty on 31 May 1940 and took part in the preliminary instruction and construction period. This gave him a detailed overview of complex construction and procedures of the ship and provided valuable experience during operations. After the commissioning, Werner was assigned battle stations in the electrical plant, probably in the electronic power stations.

The end of 1940 he spent his leave with his family in Hörselgau. Shortly thereafter, he was promoted to Machinist’s Apprentice. During Fleet Admiral Raeder’s visit on 22 November 1940, Werner Böttner was in the front row of his Division on the top deck. The Wochenschau [the national weekly news program] filmed the visit, and the Böttner family happened to see the report. They got a still from the film, had it enlarged and framed and hung the picture in a special place in the living room where it remained for years after Werner’s death.

On 27 May 1941, one month after his 20th birthday, Machinist’s Apprentice Werner Böttner went down with the Bismarck. His parents put a wooden cross in a memorial site in the garden for him, and until their deaths in 1970, they never gave up hope of seeing their son again.

Großadmiral Raeder is visiting the <i>Bismarck</i> on 22 November 1940

Großadmiral Raeder is visiting the Bismarck on 22 November 1940, this still from the Wochenschau shows him inspecting the crew, standing ahead of Werner Böttner

Picture gallery – Werner Böttner

Click on the pictures to enlarge.


You can read the story of Stoker 2nd Class Werner Böttner on page 223 ff in Volume 3 of our book Battleship Bismarck – the True Face of a Warship. Beside that 436 pages with the stories of many other Stokers from the Bismarck are waiting to be read. The individual departments are described in detail supported by numerous drawings and pictures.

Take a look inside the book

Battleship Bismarck - The True Face of a warship Volume 3

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