Lieutenant Commander Müller von Thomamühl was a versatile and sharp-witted navy office and inventor, who showed great personal courage, an enterprising spirit as well as a caring humanitarian nature. His life was shaped by his experience on the open waters, his fondness for Croatia and Böhmen, as well as historical Austria. As with many imperial and royal marine officers of his time he left his trace on technological developments. His fate reflects the tragedies of many former citizens of the imperial and royal monarchy of the succession states. The visionary Dagobert Müller von Thomamühl (Born 24th June 1880 in Trieste, † 10th January 1956 in Klagenfurt, Austria) 1900 Circumnavigation of the globe aboard the training sailing ship “Donau” and participation and involvement in the expedition corps against the Boxer War in China 1902 Missionary voyage to safeguard the trade policies in Africa and South America 1903 Joined the torpedo corps 1908 Marriage to Zorka (born Ruzic) 1914 Ship-of-the-Line Lieutenant 1914 Commander of various torpedo ships, decorated for bravery against the enemy 1914 First Commander of the diving school in Pola, invented and developed diving equipment enabling him to be the first person to reach a depth of 64 metres, which was then a world record. “There was collaboration with Professor Dr. Striegler to research the effects of zero gravity and pressure in underwater situations on the human body. During this research the first accounts of toxicity of oxides of nitrogen were gathered, even though they had yet to be formulised; the first tables for bottom times to avoid the risk of decompression sickness were developed; a decompression chamber was established to ease the effects of decompression sickness. Professor Dr. Striegler remained a very close friend to him throughout the rest of his life.” Dagobert Müller-Thomamühl (grandson of Dagobert Müller von Thomamühl) 1915-1916 Construction and trial of the hovercraft “Versuchsgleitboot” in Pola “My grandfather began with the construction of the marine hovercraft – he was inspired by his conviction that the torpedo, back then the most superior and modern weapon of its time, would by means of a boat (with its manoeuvrability and speed) safeguard the superiority of the Austrian wartime naval fleet. Following the first trial runs and the subsequent reports, which were sent to Vienna, he was posted to Dubrovnik. Upon his return he found the boat had been taken apart piece by piece, even the motors had been completely dismantled by Viennese engineers. He perceived this to be both a destructive act and an insult towards his efforts by jealous academic bureaucracy and halted further work on the hydroplane. As far as I am aware, his main idea was the combination of the English hydroplane with hovercraft technology.” 1917 Initiation of the first aircraft-torpedo-drop of the imperial and royal navy (a combined idea with Gottfried v. Banfield, who supported him during the realisation regarding the marine commando). In November - participation in an assault on the Otranto Barrage Commendation received: Fleet Command Order No. 15 1918 Operating as a torpedo expert he was in charge of the torpedo command throughout the imperial and royal wartime navy and was chief in command of the torpedo corps. Towards the end of the war Lieutenant Commander and owner of the Marine Cross The breakup of the monarchy led to the dismissal from the navy and resulted in Czech citizenship. 1924 In collaboration with Professor Hans Thirring invention of the photoelectric beam, which he had already installed on 22nd September 1914 to monitor the canals of Veglia, on the northern point of Cherson. “The development of the photoelectric beam was down to pure chance, as Professor Thirring explained his revelations surrounding selenium and its amazing and unique characteristics to change conductivity with the introduction of light. Nonetheless he had an idea how best to use this new found information. As a result of this exchange my grandfather stated his thoughts regarding surveillance, whereby selenium capabilities could ideally be put to use. From this point onwards a long and close friendship was formed.” 1924 One can’t imagine life today without Austrian patent no. 95610, which was originally distributed by Carl Zeiss and later on by Siemens Halske. Its first use was by the Yugoslavian navy fleet. He founded a trading company in Susak (on the outskirts of Fiume) - the birthplace of his wife - where he concentrated on the construction of hydro-electric power plants (after several attempts in the trade industry with wood and tractors from Kälbe that were unsuccessful, he reflected upon his background in the marines and took on representative roles for the following companies: Siebe Gorman, London for diving equipment; the torpedo factory Whithead based in Fiume; the gyro compass factory “Anschütz” in Kiel, eventually representing Vickers Armstrong for sea mines. 1938 The German invasion into the Sudeten German territories changed his citizenship once more resulting in German citizenship 1945 As an undesirable German national he lost his means of existence and escaped with his family to Klagenfurt, where he remained associated with the sea, the navy and Croatia. “The family were able to take a large sum of money with them when they escaped, as they were believed that the situation in Yugoslavia would change for the better and that people would “come to their senses”. The money was therefore not used for establishing and securing their livelihood but rather the family lived “temporarily” in a hotel until the money was used up. After the exhaustion of their finances grandfather realised that he had to start over again. His son was still being held captive as a prisoner of war and couldn’t be at his side to support the family. Grandfather deployed the vehicle he had taken with him for paid transport in return for local groceries and petrol, picked fruit for the farmers (he was accustomed to the heights from sail boats and laughed when he was warned not to climb so high) or told stories about his adventures at sea for a meal, of which he used to bring some back to his wife. Once his son he had found the family he discovered encouragement once more and set about establishing a solid new existence by means of his naval connections.” 1956 He passed away and, as requested, was buried in Pula at the naval cemetery as the last member of the imperial and royal navy.
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