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Remembered Today:

RIR 262


Tom E.
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Hello,

just back from my first visit to Flanders I received a letter with official information that my grandgrandfather died in the fighting at Langemark on 09. Aug. 1917. At that time he was Sanitaets-Unteroffizier with the 10. Kompanie, Ersatz-Batallion, Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment 262 zu Coepenick.

I'd really like to know where exactly he may have been then.

I know there was a similar thread here to which Jack Sheldon contributed a map which is to small for me to make out even the unit names.

Could you, Jack, or somebody else help me with a map in higher resolution or any other detail? Does anybody know if a regimental history of RIR 262 exists?

Thank you

Tom

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Tom

There is a history and I have a copy of it. I have just taken a look at the Roll of Honour and see that under 10th Coy there is mention of a Sanitaetsunteroffizier Hermann Eckstein who was killed on 9 August 1917 at Langemark. Is that your Great Grandfather? I shall see what I can do with the map in the regimental history for you, but it appears to me that the initial deployment of 10th Coy was in the Wilhelmstellung just to the east of Kerselaar. There is not a lot of detail about events that day, other than to say that the F, or 3rd Bn was under such heavy bombardment that nothing and nobody could get through to it - not even the ration parties, so the men went hungry.

Jack

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Good evening Jack

Thank you for the quick response.

Yes. That's him. Hermann Eckstein, born 08.06.1877, married, three kids. Here's a photo of them:

1.jpg

This is so much more than expected. After years of research (family, Kriegsgräberfürsorge, Krankenbuchlager ...) without getting any closer to that man's history I'm really quite excited now.

This is the last picture of him (with him 2d from right of the seated men):

2.jpg

On the back it says "Belgien Juli 1917".

So this is his Company (?) in RIR 262.

I'm looking forward to hear from you again.

Tom

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Oh, I forgot to mention, that another source (death-notification) mentions, that by the time of his death he served in the "RIR ..., 10. Kompanie, Fuesilier-Btl." (the family didn't know the regiment's number).

Is this the Ersatz-Btl. and the F-Btl. you mentioned?

Tom

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Tom

First of all thank you for posting these family pictures. They are both excellent and give a good impression of your Great Grandfather. I shall return to the second one shortly. Attached is an extract of the larger Langemark map which I have worked on a bit to highlight the location of 10th Coy.

post-6447-1254429922.jpg

It is impossible to speak with any certainty but the most probable cause of his death was artillery fire which, as I have already mentioned, was extraordinarily heavy on that day. The Wilhelmstellung at the time was in a terrible state, as you can see from the photo which I shall post separately. I cannot say exactly which part of the Wilhelmstellung it represents, but it could easily have been near Langemark. The clue to why casualties were relatively low is the existence of the numerous pillboxes. Your ancestor might have been treating man outside the aid post blockhouse and just been unlucky. It is hard to say.

Jack

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post-6447-1254430594.jpg

As promised the Wilhelmstellung in August 1917. Because RIR 262 like the other regiments of 79th Res Div: RIRs 261 and 263, was raised in early 1915 from reservists belonging to the Guard Corps, they retained many of the traditions of the Guards, one of which was that 3rd Bn was known as the Fusilier or F Battalion and its soldiers were referred to as fusiliers, rather than musketiers.

I think it highly probable that the second of your photos was taken between 18 and 23 July 1917 when F Bn RIR 262 was in reserve behind 1st Marine Division on the Belgian coast at the resort of Knocke. This duty was thinly disguised rest and recreation for each of the battalions in turn between their return from front line service in French Flanders and their deployment into the Third Battle of Ypres in the area of Langemark. Your ancestor was killed prior to the main day of battle there.

The photo cannot be the whole company; there are too few of them, but it is possible that the man in the centre is the company commander 10th Coy, Reserve Leutnant Wiltberger. Wiltberger had a distinguished and gallant career at the head of 10th Coy. By the time he was killed in action on 4 November 1918, he had received decorations for leadership and gallantry up to and including the Knights Cross of the Order of Hohenzollern with Swords - someting of a rarity for a junior reserve officer.

I hope this helps fill in the picture a little for you, Sadly the regimental records went up in smoke on 14 April 1945 when the Royal Air Force bombed the Prussian archives in Potsdam.

Jack

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Hello Jack,

in fact, the death certificate states that he "infolge eines erhaltenen Granatsplitters gefallen sei" (died by a shell fragment).

He received the iron cross 2d class a while before and sent it home. I remember playing with it when I was a kid. It's gone. It was told that the accompanying letter, which is gone as well, said "sie haben mir das Eiserne Kreuz verliehen, hoffentlich kriege ich kein Eisen ins Kreuz" (they gave me the iron cross, hope I don't get an iron in the cross (i.e. in the back)"

Thank you very very much. You did indeed fill in the picture.

Tom

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Tom

Glad to have been of assistance. You might try to obtain a copy of the regimental history. They come up for sale from time to time and that of RIR 262 is a handsome book with a grey cover inlaid with gold lettering. Do a Google search for ZBAV or Abe Books and keep trying. The details are: Das Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 262 1914 - 1918 Hauptmann d.R. Fischer: Sporn Verlag, Zeulenroda [1936?]

Jack

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I already started searching but there's none on the market right now.

In the meantime I will try to find out more about the other great grandfather who died in Flanders (so it is told) in 1917. Until a few days ago I didn't even know his date and place of birth. Maybe I'll soon be back with details about him and more questions.

Thank's again

Tom

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  • 2 weeks later...
I already started searching but there's none on the market right now.

In the meantime I will try to find out more about the other great grandfather who died in Flanders (so it is told) in 1917. Until a few days ago I didn't even know his date and place of birth. Maybe I'll soon be back with details about him and more questions.

Thank's again

Tom

In case you are interested, here is the page in the 1914 Berlin city directory with the Eckstein name.

http://adressbuch.zlb.de/viewAdressbuch.ph...;CatalogLayer=5

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In case you are interested, here is the page in the 1914 Berlin city directory with the Eckstein name.

http://adressbuch.zlb.de/viewAdressbuch.ph...;CatalogLayer=5

Hello Ken, I don't think the man ever lived in Berlin. He's always been registered with adresses in Iserlohn (now in North-Rhine-Westfalia).

As far as I know, the Garde was recruited from all over Prussia but my guess is that he did not serve in the Garde from the beginning.

I have two older wartime photos showing him without the "Gardelitzen", one of 1915 with a No. 15 on the shoulder strap, indicating he then served in the 2d Westfalian Inf. Reg. 15. Maybe he was transferred to RIR 262 at the time of formation of the RIR 262 or later.

Tom

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I suppose that the "zu Coepenick" refers to the location of the Ersatz Batallion, then.

Some of the other members will be able to give you a more definite suggestion as to what the "15" means, but if he was born in 1877 I'm inclined to think that he would not have been a member of an Infanterie regiment, rather a Reserve or Landwehr instead. RIR15 was a Garde regiment, and was part of the 2nd Guard Reserve Division.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Actually, I've heard the records apparently did not go up in smoke in 1945. Apparently Russia returned them @ 6 years ago and thousands of other records in crates from 1945, are purportedly sitting in an air force hanger near Berlin. Noone knows what to do with the stuff. Noone wants the stuff because of "budgetary constraints".

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That is most interesting. Are we talking about the records of RIR 262 here? Could you tell me any more about your source and what you know about it? I'd love to do some further research on that in Berlin.

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That is most interesting. Are we talking about the records of RIR 262 here? Could you tell me any more about your source and what you know about it? I'd love to do some further research on that in Berlin.

Another avenue that you may want to follow if you are in Berlin is consulting the regiment's post-war newsletter:

http://d-nb.info/019523769

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  • 3 weeks later...
Actually, I've heard the records apparently did not go up in smoke in 1945. Apparently Russia returned them @ 6 years ago and thousands of other records in crates from 1945, are purportedly sitting in an air force hanger near Berlin. Noone knows what to do with the stuff. Noone wants the stuff because of "budgetary constraints".

Here's rather bad news: The Bundesarchiv Freiburg just informed me that only three diaries of a private of RIR 262 have been handed over from the former GDR archives. No mention/confirmation of any more stuff in an air force hangar or anywhere else.

Tom

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