Lieutenant O. V. Schlanbusch RNR

British War Medal to Lieutenant Otto Schlanbusch, Royal Naval Reserves

Otto Valdemar Hansen was born on 14th July 1876 in Stokkebro, Gjerrild (Grenaa parish) in Denmark. His father was farmmanager Marinus Laurits Hansen (Born Ribe county 1843) and his mother Andrea Augusta Mathilde Hansen (nee Nielsen - born in Copenhagen 1841). He was christened October 2nd 1876.


The 1880 census has Otto listed as the youngest, living with his parents, five elder brothers, a teacher and two servants. I don't know when, but most probably at a young age, Otto started his life on the seas.


At some point he and his brother Hans Jakob (born 1870) went to England, and decided to change their surname from Hansen to the rather eccentric name, Schlanbusch.


On October 7th 1903 Otto passed his examination as Master Mariner and his Certificate of Competency as Master of a foreign-going ship was given to him on October 9th 1903. In November that year, Otto became a British citizen.


In 1911 Otto sailed as a passenger on S.S. Thames from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Southampton. This he did several times during the rest of his life, as he choose to reside in South America.


Otto V. Schlanbusch sailed from 1906 as a Master Mariner with The Royal Mail Line, until he on January 26th 1916 was commisioned temporary Lieutenant in the Royal Navy Reserves.


In September 1916 Otto was recommendede by SNO Pacific for a appointment as interpreter in Spanish. He served on the armed merchant cruiser H.M.S Avoca as Navigating Commander until his tempoary commision was terminated May 18th 1918. For this he was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and the Mercantile Marine medal.


After the war, Otto joined the Royal Mail Line once again.


At some point Otto married Marion Bryden, and had at least three sons: Thomas, Otto and Eric.


Otto was mentioned in The Macfadyen Story (1959) by Donald F. Macfadyen, when the authour sailed on the S.S. CHIGNECTO in 1925.

"In due course Captain Rutherford-Collins left Station, taking with him his pseudo Royal Naval airs and general atmosphere of Episcopalian benignity. In his place came Captain Otto Schlanbusch, a gruff voiced Teutonic type but a charming man and a real sailor with no frills and lots of efficiency."


On May 22nd 1950, Otto and Marion arrived at Southampton, coming from Argentina with Alcantara. Otto was most probably not feeling well, as he died the next day, May 23rd 1950 at Borough Hospital, Southampton. He died of Carcinoma of the Larynx. This is cancer of the vocal cords, caused by heavy smoking or heavy alcohol use.