Niels Anton Nielsen – Danish Navy ca. 1899

Niels Anton Nielsen - Danish Navy ca. 1899
Niels Anton Nielsen – Danish Navy ca. 1899
The photo shows Nielsen while servicing on the gunboat Guldborgsund in 1902 – the name Guldborgsund is printed on the hatband.

This colored photo of Niels Anton Nielsen illustrates the style of regulation Danish naval uniform, which was introduced into Danish naval service in the 1870s

Niels Anton Nielsen left home to go to sea when he was 14 years old, but returned to Denmark to do his conscript naval service. Niels had originally been entered into the Danish army’s conscription register, but his merchant marine service apparently caused him to be transferred to the muster roll of the naval register in 1899, as an able seaman.

When Niels met for his naval service, he was originally quartered in the depot ship Sjaelland, which had originally been a naval frigate that was a near sister-ship of the famous frigate Jylland, before she was converted into a depot ship in 1885. After Niels completed his naval service, he spent most of his life in the merchant marine, sailing in ships of various nationalities.

During his life in the merchant marine, he circumnavigated the globe seven times by sail, via “the Horn,” and once was “Shanghaied” by Chinese pirates. On another occassion, he was signed on as a member of the crew of the only 7-masted schooner which was ever built, the Thomas W. Lawson, but for some reason he missed the ship when she left port, on what turned out to be her last voyage for she was wrecked at sea.

While a merchant seaman, Nielsen met and married the daughter of the officer of a Scottish regiment which was stationed in India during the British imperial era, and when he left the sea he raised chickens in the State of New Hampshire, USA.

Text and picture from Eric Nielsen