|Hellmuth von Mücke|
|June 25, 1881 - July 30, 1957|
|Place of birth||Zwickau, Prussia|
|Place of death||Ahrensburg, Schleswig-Holstein|
|Years of service||1900-1919|
|Awards||Iron Cross 1st class|
Von Mücke was born in on June 21, 1881 in Zwickau, Saxony. He was a son of an Army Captain who later joined the Imperial Civil Service. At the age of 18, von Mücke became a naval cadet and served on the schoolship Charlotte and later then the battleship Kaiser Friedrich III. He became Leutnant zur See in September 1903 and was posted to the light cruiser Nymphe. In 1907, he became first officer of the 3rd Torpedo Boat Reserve Half-Flotilla and a year later a flag lieutenant to the Commander of Scouting Forces. He received command of the torpedo boat S.149 in 1910, while simultaneously acting as flag lieutenant for the First Torpedo Boat Flotilla.
Von Mücke was the first lieutenant and second in command of the successful commerce raider SMS Emden. The Emden was a vessel in the German East Asia Squadron based at Tsingtao. The squadron's commander detached the Emden for commerce raiding while he attempted to bring the rest of the squadron back to Germany.
The Emden intercepted dozens of merchant vessels in the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean over the next four months. But finally, on November 14, 1914, she encountered, and was sunk by, the larger, faster and more heavily armed HMAS Sydney.
Emden's captain had delegated von Mücke to lead a landing party on Direction Island, one of the Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean which was crossed by an important intercontinental communications cable.
Von Mücke and his landing party saw their vessel destroyed. But they were able to seize a 123 ton, three-masted schooner, the Ayesha and escape, before the Sydney was able to land a party of her own the next day. The Landing Party had been equipped with four heavy machine guns, and these two were loaded on the captured schooner.
Von Mücke lead his command of approximately fifty men to rendezvous with a German freighter, which transported them to Yemen. Once in the Arabian Peninsula Von Mücke and his men experienced months of delay securing the assistance of local Turkish officials to return to Germany. Finally von Mücke lead his men overland on a long dangerous caravan across the Arabian desert, where they were beset by bandits they believed were hired by the British.
The arrival of von Mücke and his men back in Germany, after their successful commerce raiding cruise, and long and arduous return voyage, was greeted with widespread acclaim. The effects of the war had jaded him considerably however, and he now embraced pacifism. This proved to be an embarrassment for the military, that one of its most celebrated war heroes would take a stand against the war, and he quickly faded from the public eye.
In his later years, von Mücke struggled with depression over his wartime experiences. Following the rise of Adolf Hitler during the 1930s, he became a vocal opponent of the Nazi regime, and was briefly imprisoned in a concentration camp for political dissent on two separate occasions, in 1936 and 1939. After the war, he continued peace activism, opposing rearmament in 1950s West Germany. He died of a heart attack on July 30, 1957 at Ahrensburg, Schleswig-Holstein.
Hellmuth von Mücke was married to an American with whom he had five children. One of his sons died on the Eastern Front in WWII.