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Lancashire Fusilier

Von Richthofen's twin Spandau MGs - where are they ?

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NickM99

The engine is on display at the IWM (well, was - I believe the WW1 galleries are now shut for the horrendous looking remodelling of the museum)

Ten years ago I was given copies of the following images, showing MvR's engine just after arrival at the IWM.

dr142517engine2.jpgdr142517engine3.jpg

And how it looked at the IWM in 2003:

dr142517engine1.jpg

As to the location of the guns, who knows? 209 Sqn disbanded in 1968, and surely if they were in a public office, such as an RAF office, someone somewhere would've talked. My opinion is that, like the gun lock and sight, the rest is in someone's private collection somewhere.

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NickM99

The very strange thing is, on the subject of MvR's medals, I came across this in my files. I have no idea where I found the image, or where it was from, but it clearly shows MvR's sig on the back of an EK1.

ekmvr1.jpg

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NickM99

Of note, regarding the guns:

"Quickly souvenir hunters hacked apart his aircraft before the British army doctors could get there to take the body and aircraft back for study. A message to British HQ read:

Fokker triplane No 2009 brought down at sheet 62 D J19 B44 designated G/5B/2. Engine Le Rhone is marked model Oberursel No. 2478. Two Spandaus (nos 1795, 659) - (less locks & ammo. Prop; instruments and name plate on engine had also been taken before salvage.) Brown flew Camel No. 7270. Triplane a complete wreck and was exposed to shell-fire for some hours .... It is painted bright red all over. Date on top plane -- 13-12-17. Fabric of rather better quality than usual. Finish of engine is better than those captured in previous machines of this type.

Signed report of 3 Sqn., A.F.C. Eqpt. Officer, is present (N.J. Warenford). He arrived at site at 2 p.m. when machine was being shelled by H.E., body still in wreckage rope was fastened around body, drew it across road and down a trench and brought it to aerodrome. The machine was knocked about by shell splinters. Pilots seat forwarded to 209 Sqn for retention as a souvenir. Request for engine for Brown; but apparently not granted, as engine, guns, &c. were sent to England 26.5.18 (204/5/1465)"

http://www.constable.ca/caah/brown.htm

I only quote this piece of text, because of that curious set of (official?) numbers - 204/5/1465 - whatever they stand for.

Also, Brown obviously wasn't held in too high a regard by the RAF, hence its refusal to let him have the engine.

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Lancashire Fusilier

Ten years ago I was given copies of the following images, showing MvR's engine just after arrival at the IWM.

Great before and after photographs, many thanks for posting them.

Regards,

LF

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RobL

Ahah! Found my photo. This is how it was displayed from 2007-11 (probably for more years either side but that's the years I was vising as studying/working in the area)

a>

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NickM99

I've posted your pics. Hope that helps.

Yours show the damage to the inlets better. Also note the prop boss is now missing. They must've chucked one on for display purposes in my 2003 pic, as there isn't one in the 1918 pics, nor in yours.

a1-44.jpga1-44.jpg

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Stoppage Drill

guns, &c. were sent to England 26.5.18 (204/5/1465)"

If the engine and guns were sent to England together, then a track back starting with the IWM acquisition records for the engine might point towards a place to start looking for the guns.

I only quote this piece of text, because of that curious set of (official?) numbers - 204/5/1465 - whatever they stand for.

Just looks like a file reference to me.

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mattgibbs

Certainly an Army or RAF/RFC file letter reference, but who would know how to trace that now!?

I recall in a topic on a german forum the MvR topic being raised. There is or was a photo of his trophy room at home, aparently he sent relics back to his mother for safe keeping? the story went that they had to flee the home in 1945 due to the sudden approach of the Russians, and had no time to collect together MvR's belongings? Is this story true - if so I assume the Russians would have got a lot of interesting memorabilia no doubt including whatever the Squadron sent back after his death?

Its probable that MvR had more than one set of decorations for different uniforms etc? I'm not sure. However, in circa 1932 a museum was opened near the family estate at Schweidnitz and items from the family including his decorations were put on display there. The nazis also put a massive memorial on his tomb in Berlin in the 1930s. When the Russians overan Lower Silesia the contents of the museum dissapeared.

How his medals got from there to the USA would make an interesting story.

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NickM99
How his medals got from there to the USA would make an interesting story.

He had a relative living in Denver, Colorado, so there's a link to the US. However, what I don't get is why "his" medals would wind up in San Diego? I'm sure there are at least half a dozen higher-profile museums they would've gone to first, if not the same number also in post-war Germany.

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NickM99
Certainly an Army or RAF/RFC file letter reference, but who would know how to trace that now!?

There's every chance they were recovered by the RAF and ended up in a storage facility somewhere. I once read about RAF Cosford having thousands of items in storage, but not sorted. It's just conceivable that MvR's guns are lying behind a set of stacked wings, and someone just hasn't gotten around to realising that those old guns over there are really, really important.

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Rellik Kustoms

my father has a pair of spandaus i am going to check on the numbers if they are 1795 and 659 WOW what a find. anyone know anything of his log book or if he even had one it should have the numbers of the guns installed?

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NickM99

MvR's guns were apparently 695 and 1795. However, they were/are in bits otherwise the photo (Pasquale Carisella's) below wouldn't exist.

mvrgunlock.jpg

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Stoppage Drill

my father has a pair of spandaus i am going to check on the numbers if they are 1795 and 659 WOW what a find. anyone know anything of his log book or if he even had one it should have the numbers of the guns installed?

Hurry up - vindicate my last line comment Post#41

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NickM99

Hurry up - vindicate my last line comment Post#41

Okay okay, you're right - bits of MvR's guns ended up with Carisella. Shame we don't know where the rest of the two guns ended up. Someone's sitting on treasure they don't know is treasure.

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Stoppage Drill

Okay okay, you're right - bits of MvR's guns ended up with Carisella. Shame we don't know where the rest of the two guns ended up. Someone's sitting on treasure they don't know is treasure.

No, I didn't mean that - we know Carisella had the lock of 695.

What has excited me, Nick, about Relliks appearance on the forum is the fact that he writes from Ontario, where I have always thought at least one gun might turn up, AND he says his father has a couple of Spandaus.

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NickM99

Ah, even if he does have "two Spandaus" if they're the real deal then at least one of em's gonna be missing a lock and a sight. :w00t:

There are times like this where I HATE living in the gun-free UK. You American and Canadian gun-toting lot get all the fun.

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Rellik Kustoms

anyone know what the production # is on the aircraft spandaus, how many produced in total?

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Rellik Kustoms

just found out that 23,000 LMG 08/15 produced and unknown amount of IMG 08 produced during WW1

total production 1908 till 1960's is 173,000

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Rellik Kustoms

unfortunately my dads guns are not Richthofens they are #1648 dated 1917 and #4284 dated 1918 so the search continues

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Rellik Kustoms

any idea on the gun that shot him down is it known to be somewhere or is it also missing?

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WhiteStarLine

Hi Rellik Kustoms, to my knowledge neither of Gunner Buie nor Sergeant Popkin's weapons were retained post-war.

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Blackblue

I actually went to school with Popkin's grandson who knows quite a bit about the whole thing....but don't think he could help with the guns.

Incidentally a relative of mine (RSM Harold Tesch, 41st Bn) also recovered the aircraft's compass, which is now held at the AWM.

The AWM has a bucket load of material, which may mention the guns. If you do a collection search there is some ineresting material.

Rgds

Tim D

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NigelS

Not his Spandaus but what's claimed to be MvR's 'Lucky' blue glass dog charm appears in the RAF Museum's '100 First Air War Objects' Click (as it was a good luck talisman, I guess it must have been recovered from his body)

8166774400_40e3d9e88c_q.jpg

The dog might know where the Spandaus are, but he's keeping his own counsel!

NigelS

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NickM99

How the heck did you find that photo? I could spend years hunting the RAF site without so much as a sniff of the thing.

Just wondering what else is out there, that I haven't found.

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NigelS

It's in a collection of item selected by the museum in connection with the GW centenary with photos of the items given on flickr; see details & links given HERE

NigelS

Edit: should have said that I initially came across this on the MODs Defence News web page http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews

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