William F. C. Nindemann

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William F. C. Nindemann
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William Friedrich Carl NindemannGerman: Wilhelm Friedrich Carl Nindemann ] (born in Gingst, island of Rügen, Germany, 22 April 1850; died 6 May 1913 Hollis, New York) was an explorer on arctic expeditions originating in the United States. He was a recipient of a Congressional Silver Medal.[1]


He graduated from the public school in Gingst in 1865, and in 1867 came to New York and served as quartermaster on a yacht. He went on the arctic expedition in the steamer Polaris, which sailed from New London on 3 July 1871. On 15 October 1872, the Polaris being fast in the ice and leaking badly, the crew was ordered to land provisions, and while thus engaged the floe broke, and Nindemann with eighteen others drifted southward for 196 days without seeing the ship again. This part of the crew were rescued by the steamship USS Tigress on 29 April 1873.

After returning to Washington, Nindemann volunteered on the Tigress in her search for the Polaris, and remained with this vessel until October 1873, when he joined the crew of the steamer USS Jeannette to reach the North Pole. After the Jeannette sank in the ice and the party made it to the Lena Delta on the northern coast of Siberia, on 9 October 1881, Captain DeLong sent the two strongest members, Nindemann and Louis P. Noros to find aid for the starving crew.[2] Taking a southern course, they wandered until 21 October when they were met by a native, who took them to Kumak Surka, where they sent a message through a Russian exile to George W. Melville, who afterward joined them at Bulun. Subsequently, Melville, James H. Bartlett, and Nindemann explored the delta for traces of DeLong's party, and on 15 March 1882, they found the bodies of DeLong and his companions.

In 1890, Nindemann was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal for his feats of heroism and endurance during the Jeannette expedition.[2][3] During the Russo-Japanese War, he took several submarines to Japan for the Holland Submarine Boat Company. He served in the Spanish–American War.

Nindemann invented a tong for the gaff of fore-and-aft rigged vessels, which was patented in 1883, and was the author of a pamphlet entitled Eines deutschen Matrosen Nordpolfahrten (A German Sailor's Journey to the North Pole), edited by Karl Knortz (Zürich, 1885).


  1. ^ "Medals for the Jeannette Expediton". The Army and Navy Journal. 30 (8): 117. October 15, 1892. 
  2. ^ a b Sides, Hampton (2014). In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the U.S.S. Jeannette. Doubleday. 
  3. ^ James, Marquis (October 23, 1925). "The Further North You Go, The Colder It Gets". The American Legion Weekly. 7 (43). Retrieved August 13, 2014. 



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