A former Royal Navy Lieutenant and a former Von Graff Spee German petty officer paid tribute in a simple but moving ceremony in Montevideo to comrades killed in the River Plate sixty one years ago, during the first major naval battle at the beginning of the Second World War.
Basil Trott, and Fritz Adolph both in their eighties, deposited a flower wreath in the grave of two HMS Achilles crew members and stood side by side in the Montevideo British cemetery symbolically honouring all those killed in December 13th. 1939 in the battle between the powerful pocket battleship, pride of the German fleet, with three Royal Navy vessels operating from the Falklands.
It was a life's dream for Basil Trott who after leaving the Navy in 1958 always wanted to return to the River Plate.
It was also quiet a surprise for Fritz Adolph one of three surviving Graff Spee crew that chose to remain living in Uruguay after war internment.
The ceremony that was also attended by Mrs. Trott, a Uruguayan historian and a journalist, was jointly organized by Montevideo Embassy British Vice Consul Gerry Evans and Rolf Meurer, Cultural Attaché of the German Embassy. However in December '99 when the sixtieth anniversary, a mayor celebration involving British and German veterans plus Uruguayan witnesses of the battle was held in Montevideo.
During that ceremony German and British officials expressed their gratefulness to Uruguay for its attitude during the December 1939 battle.