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Honoring the von Trapp 
​and Whitehead Heritage
​​​​

Collecting and preserving materials related to the invention of the torpedo

20th Century Film Footage

Robert Whitehead late 1800s
Austro-Hungarian Empire 

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Photo: Public Domain

Austro-Hungarian Imperial and Royal War Navy Archive

Video: Posted YouTube  December 30, 2008 by DrGull1888, Austro-Hungarian Navy

​Note: The Georg & Agathe Foundation  is not affiliated with the video provider YouTube  or DrGull1888;  we are not responsible for content, nor do we endorse any ads.

'Indivisible & Inseperable', Their Place in History...

The project collects, archives, and preserves materials related to this extinct, distinguished navy and seeks out opportunities to educate the public. 


The idea for the archive of the Austro Imperial and Austro-Hungarian Navy has its roots in wanting to honor the men who defended the Adriatic coastline during the time of the Habsburg Empire. We hope our collection will become a further historical resource to tell their story, as we would want to contribute to the historic memory of as many naval personnel that served in the Austrian Imperial & Austro-Hungarian Navy as possible.  

From our understanding, family archives are scattered across the globe as many emigrated from Europe after both World Wars. If a family member served in any capacity within the Austrian Imperial or Austro-Hungarian Navy and you would like to contribute their documents and/or stories to our archive, it will enrich the telling of their combined stories.

Collecting and preserving materials related to the invention of the torpedo

Photo: Public Domain

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August von Trapp and Georg von Trapp

Georg's father, Captain August von Trapp, began the family's naval legacy. August participated in the Battle of Lissa, was Commandant of the Goèlette SMS Saida, and was knighted for his bravery at sea. 

Captain Georg von Trapp saw action during the Boxer Rebellion, and later was a submarine pioneer and decorated WWI hero. As Captain, his crew was paramount to him. He fought for their recognition alongside his own and felt his greatest naval achievement was not losing a single man that was under his command. To him every sailor and officer was equally important to successfully complete a mission and part of the larger naval family that looked out for each other. In 1918, he experienced the final hours of the his beloved navy. "To the last salute" is the last line in his 1935 World War I memoir, Biss zum letzten Flaggenschuss  (To the Last Salute); it is in reference to taking down the Austro-Hungarian Imperial Naval flag for the last time as the Empire he served ceased to be. His last deed to remember his comrades was, while in the United States, sending care packages to them and their families in Austria, after WWII had devastated their country. ​​

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Robert Whitehead and John Whitehead

Agathe's father, John, and grandfather, Robert, were also key historical figures in world naval history. Both were British Engineers. In 1866, Robert invented the first underwater self-propelled torpedo with the assistance of his fourteen year old son, John.


Robert spent part of his adult life engineering and innovating steam engines for the Austro-Hungarian Navy. It was on the Empire's coastline in the town of Fiume (today's Rijeka, Croatia) that he established the first torpedo manufacturing company. Later, John joined as partner and under his tenure continued to make innovations to the mechanics of the torpedo.  


In 1868, Robert received a Baron title from Emperor Franz Josef I in recognition of his contributions to the Austrian Imperial Navy's success. He was also recognized for his achievements by many countries. When he passed away in 1905, his tomb stone was engraved, "...His fame in all nations round about."

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Captain Georg von Trapp circa 1915
Austro-Hungarian Empire