The latest item to join my collection is this wehrpass to an original ships company member of the Bismarck who joined her while she was still undergoing various build details and sailed with her on her various trials and then on her first and final war cruise, dying in the process.
Karl Burichter joined the Kriegsmarine in April 1940 aged 19 and by June 1940 he was assigned to the newest ship, and pride of the German fleet, Bismarck. During this period the battleship was crewing up and was in drydock for her propellers to be attached.
As would be expected for a sailor who only served in 2 units - his initial training Abteillung and then his first/only ship - the Wehrpass has minimal entries but it does show that he served on the Bismarck for a total of 290 days.
The story of Bismarck's war cruise has been told many times and the engagement with HMS Hood & HMS Prince Of Wales is well known and that engagement is listed in the Wehrpass as is the sailor being listed as missing on the 27th May 1941 after the Bismarck was engaged by the battleships HMS King George V, HMS Rodney and torpedoes from HMS Dorsetshire, having been attacked by Swordfish aircraft from the Fleet Air Arm in the preceeding days.
Here is a very good timeline for the life of the Bismarck....
Bismarck Career Timeline - KBismarck.com
The Wehrpass does not show any awards but he would of been posthumously awarded the High Seas Fleet Badge.
Finally Karl Burichter is listed on the Volksbund Database with his name being on the Laboe Memorial in Germany and his name does appear on the crew list for Bismarck's war cruise.