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hmsk212

German Plane shot down 9th April 1918

9 posts in this topic

Hi, I came across the following entry in the 11th Battalion Machine Gun Corps War Diary :-

B Company 11 Battn MGC

No 114375 Pte ARMSTRONG R

On April 9th ( 1918 ) at HULLUCH a German Aeroplane, damaged by Lewis Gun fire was forced to land between our Reserve and Front lines. The two airmen, an officer and a NCO took out a machine gun and attempted to get back to their own lines. PTE ARMSTRONG seeing this, took a rifle and went forward to stop them, but was caught up in our own barbed wire. He then shot the NCO, who was getting away, and called to the officer to surrender. The officer neglected his call and PTE ARMSTRONG shot him in the leg, the officer then put up his hands and came towards our lines, but in coming close up to PTE ARMSTRONG and seeing him alone and hampered by the wire, he jumped towards him and tried to snatch away the rifle. PTE ARMSTRONG fired again and shot him in the abdomen. PTE ARMSTRONG's conduct showed great daring and a very resourceful handling of the situation. His action prevented the enemy airmen from getting back to their lines, and was the means of several important maps and papers being secured.

Is anyone able to identify who the two German airmen were ?

Steve

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Steve

My Western Front geography isn't what it might be, so I don't know if the locations are near Hulloch, but Casualties of the German Air Services indicates two instances where German two-seater crews were captured on 9 April 1918:

Uffz Drexler (pilot) and Ltn Kalkefen (observer) of Flieger Abteilung 205 (Artillerie) were captured north of Hangard; and

Uffz Kroll (pilot) and Vfw Muss (gunner) of Schlachtstaffel 21 were captured at Dorignies.

As your report includes an officer, it's more likely to be Drexler and Kalkefen. Unfortuntaly, the book doesn't indicate their first names.

I hope this is useful.

Gareth

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Hi Gareth,

Thanks for that but the way I read the report I don't think that either of the airmen survived their encounter with Pte Armstrong.

Cheers

Steve

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Steve

If the identification of the observer/aircraft commander as an officer is correct, then there's another possibility:

Vfw Georg Schneider (p) [born on 24 March 1895 in Frankfurt am Main] and Obltn Hermann Ramdohr (o) [born 30 January 1891 in Lyck] from Schlachtstaffel 16 were killed on 9 April 1918. Oddly, Casualties says that Schneider died at Reims, and Ramdohr at Bailleul.

Again, I hope this is useful.

Gareth

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Steve,

the locations in "Casualties ..." must be false. According to "Schlachtflieger!" Schlachtstaffel 16 moved from Pont de la Deule (28 March to 9 April) to Tourmignies (9 April to 12 April) on 9 April 1918.

Both aerodromes are situated not so far away from Hulluch. The mentioned Pont de Deule is most-likely near Douai and Tourmignies is situated more northward (south of Lille), ca 10 miles from Douai.

Look at the map, go westward and you will find Hulluch near Wingles and Lens - all locations are in the old 1915/16 combat sector of Immelmann who flew from another base near Douai too. IMHO Ramdohr and Schneider could have been the two aviators in question.

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Hi,

Many thanks to you both for your imput it has been a great help.

I have looked back at the War Diary for the 11th Btn and the main entry for the date is :-

A German aeroplane was forced to land between our Reserve & Front line - The occupants refused to surrender and were shot by No 114375 Pte Armstrong R "B" Coy. See Account marked "A" Attached

The Account marked "A" was the one that I referred to in my first post in this thread. As neither of the extracts from the diary mention the airmen were captured I would assume that they were both killed and are probably as you have both suggested Schneider & Ramdohr.

Thanks

Steve

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Steve,

If this is of interest, the MIC for Pte. Robert Armstrong, 114375, is available at the National Archives

with file reference WO 372/1/117475 (117475 is NA's file number--possibly an transcription error of

the service number).

Regards,

Trelawney

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Many Thanks

Steve

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