Dragutin Prica

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Dragutin Prica
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Born5 November 1867
Austrian Empire
DiedJune 14, 1960(1960-06-14) (aged 92)
Opatija, Yugoslavia

Dragutin Prica (Serbian: Драгутин Прица; Sveti Juraj (Senj), Austrian Empire, 5 November 1867 - Opatija, Yugoslavia, 14 June 1960) [1]was an admiral of the Austro-Hungarian and later in the Royal Yugoslav Navy[2]. He was of Serbian descent.[3]


His father Maximilian Prica was a retired border lieutenant and his mother Ksenija was the daughter of the Austrian Major-General Bude Budisavljević. [4] Dragutin completed his high school education in Senj in 1881 with great success and on 3 October, exempted from tuition, he was admitted to the Naval Academy in Rijeka. Along with Prica in the class was cadet Miklos Horthy, later commander of the navy and longtime regent and chief of the Kingdom of Hungary, with whom he became good friends.[5]He completed his school education in 1885 with success as the 9th in the rank of 21 cadets. Between 1885 and 1886, he crossed the Atlantic on a corvette "Danube", visiting the Caribbean, the United States, United Kingdom, and the North Sea.[6] He served in the Danube River Flotilla. During the Boxer Rebellion of 1898, he was sent to China as commander of a detachment to secure an Austro-Hungarian concession in Tianjin. In China, he commanded the cruiser "Kaiserin Elisabeth" and was a member of the squadron command. Upon his return in 1899 he performed various duties in the navy, especially in the training of officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs).

During the First World War, he held the position of Chief of Staff of the Admiralty in Pula. In 1915, he was appointed chief of staff of the war port and military stronghold of Pula. In this capacity, he presided over a naval tribunal in 1916, which tried Nazario Sauro.[7]He became the commander of the battleship, "Prinz Eugen", on 15 June 1917. At the end of 1917, he was transferred to Trieste. There he was an aide to Admiral Austro-Hungarian Navy|Alfred Freiherr von Koudelka.[8]

Despite the evacuation of the civilian population from Pula and the surrounding area, as head of the Military Department at the Port Admiralty on 25 May 1918, he supported the launch of a Croatian-language daily in Pula of Hrvatsko list. [9]In May 1918, as Rear Admiral, he applied for retirement, realizing that the war for Vienna had been lost, and from 1 August he was placed in reserve.

State of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes

He reactivated in October 1918. When the Central Committee of the National Council of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes succeeded in taking over the warships of failed Austro-Hungary, at a session on 31 October 1918, he appointed Rear Admiral Dragutin Prica Commissioner for the Navy.[10] At the same session, the captain of the battleship Janko Vuković Podkapelski was appointed commander of the fleet. [11]From Zagreb, he went to Pula to help Vuković bring order and discipline among the sailors and prevent the Italian takeover of ships and ports, but he fell ill and remained in Rijeka. As Prica was ill, he was replaced by frigate captain Metod Koch.

Kingdom of Yugoslavia

In 1919 he took command of the seized Austro-Hungarian fleet on the Danube from the English Admiral Troubridge. From 25 July 1922 to 29 July 1923, he was the commander of the Boka Kotorska Command. On 24 August 1923, he was nominated Marshal of the Court (Serbia, Yugoslavia)|marshal of the court in Belgrade, but Jevrem Damjanović succeeded in getting a second term. He was promoted to the rank of Vice-Admiral and appointed Commander of the Navy on 21 October 1923, and remained in that position until his retirement. He devoted himself to the organization of the navy and the defense of the coast. In 1925 he held maneuvers and exercises with most of the ships. In the same year, he was promoted to the rank of admiral. In 1926, the Yugoslav Navy acquired the first major ship, the former German cruiser SMS Niobe, renamed Dalmatia. The following year, two Uskok-class torpedo boats were ordered and procured in Britain, as well as the first Hrabri and Nebojša submarines. In France in 1928-1929, two Avengers-class submarines were ordered and put into service. In May and June 1929, a squadron under his command consisting of the cruiser Dalmatia, the ship Hvar and two submarines of the Hrabri class visited Malta, Corfu, and Bizerte.

During this period he became an aide to King Alexander I of Yugoslavia and an adviser on military matters. As a friend of the Hungarian regent Horthy, he served as his liaison with the Yugoslav court and King Alexander. [12]As the king's aide, he also performed many protocol and ceremonial duties. At the ceremonial opening of the Lika railway on 25 July 1925, he was the king's envoy and gave welcoming speeches on his behalf at the newly opened railway stations from Gračac to Šibenik.

As commander of the navy of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, he described the 1928 revolt of sailors in the Bay of Kotor in February 1918 as "Bolshevik" and refused to acknowledge the rebels, contrary to the position of Rear Admiral Metod Koch, a Slovene who described the revolt as a South Slavic patriotic act. King Aleksandar Karađorđević agreed with Prica and forbade the Yugoslav Navy to pay tribute to the Kotor rebels. [13] He retired on October 18, 1929, at his own request, and by the same royal decision was awarded the Order of Karađorđe's Star of the 3rd class.


In 1931-1932 he was the president of the Rotary Club in Belgrade. [14]

Dragutin Prica died in Opatija in 1960 as the last living admiral of the Austro-Hungarian navy. He was buried in the cemetery on Trsat.[15]On his maternal side, he was related to Jovanka Broz|Jovanka Budisavljević. [16]

His son Srđan was also a naval officer, graduating in 1931 in the 6th class of the Naval Military Academy in Gruž. His wife Minka and son Srđan were buried on Mirogoj in the family tomb of Bude Budisavljević.

Decorations and awards

  • The Austro-Hungarian Navy|Flag of the Austro-Hungarian Rear Admiral
  • Order of Saint Anna ribbon bar, Medal of St. Anne 3rd class (Russian Empire, 1903)
  • Grand Cross of the Iron Cross (German Empire)
  • Liyakat Medal ribbon bar, War Medal (Ottoman Empire)
  • Medal of Military Merit, Signum Laudis (Austria-Hungary)
  • Imperial Order of the Iron Crown, Order of the Iron Crown, III class (Austro-Hungary)
  • Order of the White Eagle BAR, Medal of the White Eagle 3rd class (Kingdom of Yugoslavia)
  • Order of the Karađorđe's Star with Swords, Karađorđeva zvijezda III class of the Order (Kingdom of Yugoslavia) [17]
  • Order of Saint Sava - Ribbon bar, Order of Saint Sava 1st class (Kingdom of Yugoslavia)


The Municipal Council of Tivat unanimously elected him an honorary citizen on 25 August 1925. [18]The same honor was paid to Prica by the Šibenik Municipal Council on 29 May 1928.

His name is also on a plaque honoring all admirals who graduated from the former Naval Academy in Rijeka. On the front of the former academy, today the hospital building, it was unveiled by Croatian President Ivo Josipović on Navy Day 2011.


  1. "Dragutin Prica", Imehrvatsko
  2. Бјелајац 2004, p. 254.
  3. Службени картон
  4. Службени картон
  5. name="Horthy">Horthy
  6. Erwin Sieche: "Grab des k.u.k. Seekadetten Otto Karsch in New York nach 106 Jahren wieder aufgefunden", kuk-kriegsmarine.at
  7. PAOLO BROGI: Impiccateli!: Le storie eroiche di Cesare Battisti e Nazario Sauro a cento anni dalla morte Imprimatur editore, 2016
  8. Lawrence Sondhaus: The Naval Policy of Austria-Hungary, 1867-1918: Navalism, Industrial Development and the Politics of Dualism, Purdue University Press, str. 354.
  9. Hrvatski list
  10. name="Matijević">Zlatko Matijević: Narodno vijeće Slovenaca, Hrvata i Srba u Zagrebu. Osnutak, djelovanje i nestanak (1918./1919.)
  11. name="Matijević">Zlatko Matijević: Narodno vijeće Slovenaca, Hrvata i Srba u Zagrebu. Osnutak, djelovanje i nestanak (1918./1919.)
  12. name="Horthy"
  13. name="Hathaway"
  14. Monografija ROTARI KLUBA BEOGRAD, str. 53.
  15. "Kataloški popis značajnih osoba pokopanih na groblju Trsat"
  16. Domaćica u statusu ljubavnice
  17. "Pensionisanje admirala Price", 20. listopada 1929.
  18. „Novo Doba", br. 206, str. 6, 29.08.1925.

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