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Honoring the von Trapp 
​and Whitehead Heritage
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Baron Robert Whitehead &

Cavaliere (Knight) John Whitehead
turn-of-the-century, Adriatic Coast,  Austro-Hungarian Empire 

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Its Place in History...

"Indivisible and Inseparable"  –Austro-Hungarian Imperial Navy motto


The project collects, archives, and preserves materials related to this distinguished, extinct 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.

Robert Whitehead and John Whitehead

Agathe's father, John, and grandfather, Robert, were British engineers and key historical figures in world naval history. 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 in marine 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 ever 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 tombstone was engraved, "...His fame in all nations round about."

Photo: Courtesy of Whitehead family

Austro-Hungarian Imperial and Royal War Navy Archive

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Photo: Courtesy of von Trapp family

Dutch Foundation for Industrial Culture

The Dutch Foundation for Industrial Culture  is a Dutch nonprofit that works to promote and preserve industrial heritage and networks within Europe under the leadership of Hildebrand de Boer.

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, each sailor and officer was equally important towards a successful mission and part of the larger naval family that looked out for each other. In 1918, he experienced the final hours of 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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PRO TORPEDO Rijeka

PRO TORPEDO Rijeka  is a Croatian nonprofit that works to preserve the city Rijeka's industrial heritage, as well as to create connections between international networks of researchers and history enthusiasts.
To learn more, visit: www.protorpedo-rijeka.hr

Family Roots

Captain August von Trapp &

Baron Captain Georg von Trapp
turn-of-the-century, Adriatic Coast, Austro-Hungarian Empire 

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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.

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