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Friedrich Adolph, 89; survivor from German battleship Graf Spee

June 10, 2007|From Times Wire Reports

Friedrich Adolph, 89, the last surviving sailor in Uruguay from the famous German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee, which was sunk off the South American nation's coast early in World War II, has died, his family told the Associated Press.

Adolph had been "very sick" and died Friday in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, according to his grandson, Tobias Friedrich Adolph.

The Graf Spee was considered one of the most sophisticated battleships of its time. It prowled the South Atlantic, sinking as many as nine Allied merchant ships before warships from Britain and New Zealand tracked it down and damaged it during a battle that began Dec. 13, 1939.

The Graf Spee limped into Montevideo's harbor, where injured and dead sailors were taken ashore. To prevent it from falling into enemy hands, the captain later scuttled the ship a few miles from Montevideo.

Several German sailors who survived settled in Uruguay, and others immigrated to Argentina.

Adolph was among those who remained in Montevideo. It was not immediately known if there were more survivors living in Argentina or elsewhere.

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