Top 10 Unsolved World War I Mysteries



Top 10 Unsolved World War I Mysteries

Script written by George Pacheco

There are many unexplained mysteries of the First World War. From, Krech, the Sub and the Sea Monster, to The Florentine Diamond, to the Mysterious Fate of the USS Cyclops, the unresolved controversies of World War I are baffling. Watchmojo counts down ten unsolved World War I mysteries.

Special thanks to our user MikeMJPMUNCH and urbanwatch69 for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Unsolved+World+War+I+Mysteries.
Script written by George Pacheco

Top 10 Unsolved World War I Mysteries

It may have been known as the war to end all wars, but these conundrums still exist in the minds of many. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Unsolved World War I Mysteries.

For this list, we’re ranking the most well known, yet enigmatic situations that arose during the first World War. The secrets behind some of these mysteries are shrouded in obscurity, while others might never be solved, but that hasn’t stopped historians from trying to uncover their secrets.

#10: Who Killed the Red Baron?

Nope, not that Red Baron! We’re talking about the German flying ace also known as Manfred von Richthofen. Von Richthofen was a talented and celebrated fighter pilot with over 80 confirmed victories to his credit, but there’s large amount of controversy regarding his death. What isn’t debated is that The Red Baron was shot in the chest during a dogfight with two Canadian pilots on April 21st, 1918. Instead, the question is who shot the fatal bullets into the incredibly resilient von Richthofen? The U.K.’s Royal Air Force officially recognizes one of the Canadians, Captain Arthur Brown, as the shooter, but other sources have named no less than four other men who might’ve made history that day.

#9: John Parr and the First Shot

John Parr is believed to have been the first British soldier killed in the line of duty during WWI, but the identity of exactly who fired the first shot of the conflict remains a mystery. Furthermore, there’s also a mystery behind exactly which person was responsible for Parr’s death, as there were a rash of friendly fire incidents early on in the war. It’s believed that the army Private was killed by a German patrol while on a reconnaissance mission in Belgium, but theories have also surfaced that Parr may’ve been accidentally killed by British forces, or by opposition at the Battle of Mons, not far from where he was stationed.

#8: World War I’s Mystery Artist

During the 1960s, the University of Victoria in British Columbia came into possession of a collection of mysterious, yet beautifully rendered sketches dating back to World War I. The signature on the pieces belong to a "JM," and there is an additional dedication to a daughter named "Adele". These are the only clues to the artist’s identity. The art used both watercolors and pen and ink methods, and depicts the harsh realities of war, such as the effect of chemical weapons upon horses. It’s believed that "JM" was a British soldier, but that’s all researchers have as yet uncovered about this mysterious artist whose work continues to affect audiences to this day.

#7: The Florentine Diamond

This priceless jewel has a convoluted history of ownership, having passed through numerous hands, beginning with – by many accounts – Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. It’s not who owned which fuels the mystery behind the Florentine Diamond, however, as the jewel was lost in the aftermath of World War I. Historians believe that the Florentine Diamond was initially brought into Switzerland by the exiled Charles I of Austria, before disappearing from history in 1918. Theories abound as to who took the diamond, and where it eventually ended up, with some believing it was smuggled into the United States, and re-cut thereafter.

#6: Krech, the Sub and the Sea Monster

It was 1918 when Günther Krech and the crew of his German U-Boat surrendered to the British Navy in a panic, relaying a story that a horrible sea monster had attacked them and left their vessel in shambles. Or did it? A Daily Mail article from 2016 claims that it was actually Krech’s desire to install a heater in his quarters that resulted in his boat taking on water during an intentional crash-dive, its cables preventing a tower hatch from being completely sealed from water. Still, there are also those who believe Krech’s story, including Loch Ness Sightings Record Keeper Gary Campbell, who thinks that, just maybe, Nessie’s cousin was doing her part for the war effort!

#5: The Kinmel Park Mutiny

The First World War was already over when the Kinmel Park Mutiny took place at a Welsh military complex on the fourth and fifth of March, 1919. Five Canadian soldiers died and 23 were wounded during riots which took place in the camp, likely due to overcrowding, poor living conditions and the delays in getting the soldiers back home to Canada. There were 78 arrests made during this time, with a third of that number receiving military convictions for mutiny. The mystery remains, however: what happened to the five soldiers who died? How did it happen, and who was responsible? The answers may be lost to history.

#4: The Mysterious Fate of the USS Cyclops

We may never know what happened to the USS Cyclops after the American naval vessel disappeared somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle during March 1918. The disappearance of the Cyclops remains the largest Naval loss of life outside of combat, given that a crew of over three hundred was lost with the ship. Some historians feel that the Cyclops was sunk by some sort of terrible storm, while others believe it went down in battle against German opposition, but as of yet no actual proof has been uncovered to reveal the ship’s fate. The Cyclops’ sister ships, Proteus and Nereus, were also lost at sea over twenty years later, during World War II.

#3: The Zebrina and Her Missing Crew

Yet another tale of naval disaster, only this time with a boat...but no crew. The Zebrina was a trade vessel whose remnants were found washed ashore near the French coast in 1917. Although the ship’s rigging was found to be a bit out of order, there were no other outward signs of damage. This left some historians to believe that her crew was picked up by a German U-Boat along the way, but later sank or was lost at sea. Still, the fact that we may never know exactly what happened to the Zebrina makes it one of the First World War’s most eerie mysteries.

#2: Recovering the Lost Treasure of the Tsars

Is the lost gold of the Tsarist Russian Empire lurking at the bottom of Lake Baikal, the world’s largest freshwater lake? Perhaps, according to a 2010 Daily Mail article, which detailed the results of a mapping expedition which claimed to have spotted numerous "shiny metal objects" over a thousand feet below the lake’s surface. This priceless historical treasure dates back to World War I and the collapse of the Russian Empire, as conflicting legends claim either retreating troops or derailed White Army trains resulted in the gold sinking to the bottom of Baikal. The Lost Treasure of the Tsars remains one intriguing mystery, and one we hope will someday be solved.

#1: Béla Kiss

Hungary’s Béla Kiss was drafted into World War I shortly after it began, yet it was what he left behind that would make him infamous. Local authorities found the strangled bodies of local women tucked into alcohol-filled drums on Kiss’ property. The bodies featured puncture wounds, had been drained of blood and were left to pickle in the barrels. The mystery deepened when Kiss avoided police by trading places with a dead soldier while in a Serbian hospital, and all other attempts to capture Kiss were unsuccessful. Sightings of Kiss would be reported as late as 1932, with one New York City detective claiming to have seen the serial killer in Times Square. However, his fate remains unknown.