Kormoron (Kormoran) flag made by POW


my name is Irene Dargan, my Grandfather looked after POWs at Murchison Camp Victoria in 1942 and was given a flag embroided by the Kormoron navy seaman. It has a picture of the Kormoron on one side with its name and on the other side another ship with Nazi swatstikas on the flags.

He embroided the name Lager Stienbecker Lager Störtebecker (thanks to Thomas for the correction) and the year 1942 in each corner. It also has the flag holes on it and made from some tough linen canvas type material faded cream white..its pretty old.

I wondered if you know anyone who would be interested in the artefact,

Irene Dargan


What an interesting story, I suggest you take a photograph of this treasure, and put it up on eBay with a price on it that would satisfy you, and see what results you get.

I would be suprised if there was not a deal of interest shown.

I would love to have a copy of any photograph, so we might add it to AHOY at our Kormoran article.

Thank you for getting in touch.

Mackenzie Gregory.

Kormoron Flag

Kormoron Flag


P.S. It is noted that the spelling of the German Raider's name used by this POW flag maker is Kormoron. In most instances, and on the German site about Armed Raiders the spelling is Kormoran, which is our choice in all references otherwise used on AHOY.



Thanks for your fast response, I have sent the two halves of the flag to Terry, my webmaster and friend in Atlanta Georgia to put up on AHOY, and will mail you when its there. One just never knows what will come your way via the net, I am continually suprised, and in your case delighted.

Again, I must reiterate my gratitude to you for getting in touch and then generously responding to my request to share your flag with us.

I have sent the details off to an American freelance journalist Ward who lives in Germany, and has some contact with ex Kormoran  sailors.

Should I get a positive reaction from him, I will naturally pass it on to you.

Best regards, and good luck with your disposal.


Dear Mackenzie Gregory,

Thought you may like some more information I have acquired since we last emailed...I have now found out more about it and wondered if your friends would be interested in it as well.

The Beer Company not realizing they were also a part of Australian History regarding the Kormoran and the POWs from it.

Thankyou for your time. 
Irene Dargan

Hello Irene and thank you for your submission! May I state you have a very fascinating historical relic from a time that is extremely history rich...and I also feel that your items have a very unique character to them. These flags are priceless in terms of this specific encounter between the German and Australian sides and this is subsequently, arguably, the most historical relic ever to come from this infamous event. Congratulations and very best regards, Randy

Both the pennant and the photograph appear to have been intended as a joke. Lager is both a type of beer and the German name for a camp. Stortebecker is the name of a German brewery that still operates today, producing lager and other types of beer. The firm's logo is the sailing ship that is embroidered on the pennant, although the swastika and other symbols embroidered on the sails by the Kormoran seaman were never actually part of the real logo. It is possible that Stortebecker supplied the beer that would have been issued through the Kormoran's canteen.

The photograph is a take-off of the formal group portraits that were taken of all German and Italian prisoners interned at Murchison. The group of Kormoran survivors in your image hold their joke 'beer camp' label and have posed in front of a memorial showing the German Iron Cross, which German POWs at the camp had been allowed to build in memory of their fallen comrades.

In Australia, many people found it difficult to believe that a converted merchant ship could sink a modern cruiser. Many also found it difficult to believe that a senior officer like Burnett took his ship within 1,000 metres of an unidentified and possibly dangerous vessel during wartime, without preparing for action and with such disastrous results. It was also seen as strange that the bulk of the crew of Kormoran survived, while there were no survivors from Sydney. The death of evidence and the fact that the only survivors were German, has allowed the battle between Sydney and Kormoran to become the subject of much controversy, speculation and conspiracy theory. It has been suggested that the crew of the Kormoran killed Australian survivors and/or that the Germans were assisted by a Japanese submarine. According to such theories, if there was any Japanese involvement, it would have remained secret as a state of war did not exist between Australia and Japan at the time.

Yours sincerely
Jane Peek

I have sent you pictures of the flag and the embroidery and the Lager Stortebecker POWs and the picture they took.

Sincerely yours
Irene Dargan


Thanks for that. Might we please have a copy of the photograph of Kormoran survivors?

Who is Randy, and is he from the German Brewery?

Also who is Jane Peek, and again where is she from please?

Sorry to be so nosey, but it will fill out this quite amazing story both for me at a personal level, and our AHOY readers in general.

Best regards. 


The woman Jane Peek is from this info ISS Information   she was able to shed some light on the event.
Randy is a gentleman from an appraisal company who was able to give us some idea of its worth.
I hope this has been of help.

Irene Dargan

Kormoran POW's in camp in Victoria, Australia in WW2
photo attached of Kormoran POW's in camp in Victoria, Australia in WW2

Dear Sir,

My name is Thomas Koulis and I am now 19 years old. I live in a small village called Partington, which is in the North West of England, near Manchester. I have recently seen the article about this flag. I would be very interested in getting in touch with Mrs. Irene Dargan about the flag.

Could you please tell her of my interest for me?

I have had a long interest in the German Kriegsmarine of WW2 and have been fortunate to have been able to contact a number of Veterans from the service. Your help would be much appreciated!

With best wishes from England!


Flag of the commerce raider Kormoran

Dear Sir,

you mention on the following pages
(http://www.ahoy.tk-jk.net/MaraudersWW2/7KormoranandtheSinkingofS.html and http://www.ahoy.tk-jk.net/Letters/KormoronflagmadebyPOW.html) that this flag was made by a german POW. Explanations have been made regarding the origin of the Störtebecker, and although the one with the beer certainly made me chuckle (after all, germans love Beer), I would like to offer a far more likely explanation for the inclusion of the name Störtebecker.

Klaus Störtebeker (or Störtebecker, as he is spelled nowadays - his name means to drink one beer mug dry in one swallow - Stürz den Becher) was the most famous german pirate to have ever lived. He was born somewhere around 1360 and beheaded in Hamburg in the year 1401. He was the leader of the likedeelers, a group of pirates who were famous for dividing the plunder equally among themselves. (Likedeeler means "Equally divider" in old

Störtebeker and his compatriots used the war between Margerete of Denmark and Albrecht of Sweden to obtain letters of marque and preyed on ships of the Deutsche Hanse, even managing to rule over the city of visby until the
knights of the german order launched a succesful invasion to dislodge them. After finding refuge in Frisia Störtebeker was finally captured by a hanseatic task force near Helgioland and beheaded in Hamburg.

Over the years Störtebeker became a folk hero, and tales of his exploits, bravery and superior seamanship are popular in northern germany even today. (The most famous being that he managed to free seven of his men by running past them after being beheaded). Each year, there is a Störtebeker festival on the Island of Rügen.

It is in my opinion quite easy to assume that commerce raiders such as the crew of the Kormoran would be acquainted with the legend of Störtebeker, especially if they were recruited from northern Germany. Störtebeker with few and outclassed ships managed to evade the might of the Hanse for over a decade and gained the reputation of a folk hero, while the crew of the Kormoran tried to evade the mighty RN and prey on enemy shipping, so one could see why he would appeal to them.

Furthermore, while the ship depicted looks more like a Caravel than a Cog, there are enough similarities (the high forecastle and upper works) to indicate the artist meant a Hansekogge, the type of ship Störtebeker used.

In closing, allow me a small observation - in old german, the letters "a" and "o" look quite alike, and it would be easy to mistake them for another. There is no reason to speculate that the crew member - if the POW made flag
is authentic - stitched Kormoron. Indeed, the smudge on the right bottom of the letter seems to indicate he really stitched an A.

Jürgen Tetzner


Thank you for your very interesting comments.

You have given a whole new perspective to this flag that I believe was stitched whilst the Kormoran crew were in captivity in a POW camp in my State of Victoria in WW2.

We will add your remarks to the piece on AHOY about this flag.

Best wishes from Australia.
Mac. Gregory.


back to letters index


This site was created as a resource for educational use and the promotion of historical awareness. All rights of publicity of the individuals named herein are expressly reserved, and, should be respected consistent with the reverence in which this memorial site was established.

Copyright© 1984/2014 Mackenzie J. Gregory All rights reserved