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Remembered Today:

Ralph J. Whitehead

Unusual Find

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Ralph J. Whitehead

I had almost forgotten I had this photo. I picked this up several decades ago in a small local postcard show in a small town in Central New York. Just what he was doing here is beyond me.

Leutnant der Reserve Wilhelm Durst, Schutztrüppe Ostafrika.

Ralph

post-32-0-63409600-1399221856_thumb.jpg

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Terry_Reeves

Ralph

A cracking photograph, it's good to see you on here again.

Terry Reeves

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Khaki

Yes, a very lucky find, great photo !

khaki

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trajan

That is a simply great photograph! And with a provenance and name as well! Others will doubtless offer more on him and his unit, but, well, suffice to say and to paraphrase Terry Reeves, it is indeed a cracking photograph!

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anthony osborne

Smart looking chap.

Thanks for posting.

Ant

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Ralph J. Whitehead

The medals will help determine if there is a specific region where he came from I suspect, I am not that familiar with German awards. Also, it cost a fortune when purchased, $3.00.

Ralph

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Sepoy

A great photograph, He is wearing an Iron Cross 2nd class next to a Hamburg issue of the Hanseatic Cross. He is also wearing an Iron Cross 1st class and a wound badge (possibly silver)

Sepoy

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stevebecker

Mates,

Do we know what Kampanie he was in the Schutztrüppe during the war?

Again one of the better photos I've seen of Schutztrüppe soldiers.

Cheers

S.B

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trajan

A great photograph, He is wearing an Iron Cross 2nd class next to a Hamburg issue of the Hanseatic Cross. He is also wearing an Iron Cross 1st class and a wound badge (possibly silver)

Sepoy

Certainly looks like a wound badge - but I thought that that was not instituted until March 1918? And that is what it also says here - http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verwundetenabzeichen

If correct, that puts a very narrow time frame on this photograph!

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Ralph J. Whitehead

I suspect it is a post war photo taken when he arrived home. Also, I have searched his name on-line for casualty details but nothing so far. If he has the wound badge, he must have been wounded.

Ralph

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David Filsell

Just a thought - and maybe well off beam - but it seems a large number of German veterans emigrated to the US (not least because of the financial situation after the war and later national Socialism. Found in New York - could he have emigrated to the US. I believe that this would be checkable.

David

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Loader

A check for him on Ancestry might prove useful. If he came to USA, might find him on a census post war, not a common name which helps. A very good photo with details of decorations, name & unit, what a find! Please keep us posted on what is found about him. Thanks.

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Chris Boonzaier

Fantastic Postwar Photo, I say postwar as I dontr know of anyone actually recieving a wound badge while still in GEA, and the EK2 and Hanseaten Cross are tailor mounted... and it looks like our man is no longer the Gaunt Arika Kämpfer he probably was in 1918.

Fantastic shot indeed!!!

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Ralph J. Whitehead

And now as a result of economics and a deal made with the wife, this photo is on ebay.

Ralph

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bushfighter

It will be worth checking Ludwig Boell's book: Die Operationen in Ostafrika to see if Wilhelm is mentioned.

Harry

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Holger Kotthaus

Hello Ralph,

Many thanks’ for your wonderful photo from Leutnant der Reserve Wilhelm Durst, but sorry

I didn´t found his name by the Schutztruppe in GEA between 1914 and 1918. I checked,

in my opinion, the best source for this search:

Das Offizierskorps der Schutztruppe für Deutsch-Ostafrika im Weltkrieg 1914 – 1918

W.-E. Maillard & J. Schröder, Traditionsverband ehemaliger Schutz- und Überseetruppen. 2013

http://www.traditionsverband.de/waren.html or:

http://www.namibiana.de/de/das-offizierkorps-der-schutztruppe-fuer-deutsch-ostafrika-im-weltkrieg-1914-18.html

The authors have listed and described all 227 German- and Austrian officers (and trainee

officers) who have been active in East-Africa during the Great War between 1914 and 1918.

There are only three options left:

  1. Wilhelm Durst left GEA before Summer 1914
  2. He was engaged in another Colony (Cameroun?)
  3. He was employed by the local authorities of the Schutztruppe in Germany

Cheers Holger

Edited by Tanzania

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Standard Bearer

Brilliant photo. Thanks very much for sharing it.

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Holger Kotthaus

The search for Wilhelm Durst was a little confusing, because he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant of the Reserve

only after the war.

But thanks to the competent and decisive help of the Forum Deutsche Kolonialgeschichte, he could be identified.

 

Leutnant d.R. Wilhelm Durst Schutztruppe DOA?

http://www.traditionsverband.de/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=894

 

Here a brief summary in English:

Born on October 5, 1888, he found himself after Oriental language seminars as a post-assistant, from 1913 on

in German East Africa. Probably he had completed his military service before during the years 1908 - 1910 in

the German Army and was released as a Sergeant of the Reserve.

 

With the beginning of the World War I, Wilhelm Durst was drafted into the German Schutztruppe and used as

Combat patrol- and Platoon leader in the 4th Field-Company under First Lieutenant Karl Goering.

 

Promoted to 1st Sergeant / NCO of the reserve, he participated in the whole East African campaign. Finally,

Wilhelm Durst served in the 3rd Rifle-Company, probably even as a deputy company commander and was

one of the last 155 German Europeans who laid down his arms in Abercorn / BNR on November 25, 1918.

 

As in official Officer Candidate, he was released around the year 1921 as 2nd Lieutenant of the Reserve.

Interestingly, the epaulettes on the photo suggest he is not an officer. From this time comes the upper photo.

He continued his career as a Postal inspector and was reported in Germany still in 1951.

 

Online Sources:

http://www.traditionsverband.de/magazin/verzeichn.html

http://www.traditionsverband.de/download/pdf/boell_truppengliederung_DOA.pdf

 

Regards Holger

 

 

 

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stevebecker

Holger,

 

Amazing mate, nice one.

 

S.B

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German IR 169

Once again, the power of the WFA membership comes through.   This great photo certainly deserves the story that Holger has provided us.   Thanks Ralph, for sharing the picture with us.

 

Regards, John Rieth

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beestonboxer

That is a great photo it has captured the man brilliantly.

 

Tim

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HenryTheGerman

Wilhelm Durst obviously was a very brave soldier. The Iron Cross 1st Class had not been awarded for bagatelles.

But these days in Germany, WWI soldiers like him and in particular military leaders are being judged to be war criminals, high traitors and violators of human rights. According to German judicature, Durst's highest commanding officer General von Lettow-Vorbeck is such a criminal. See here:

http://www.haz.de/Hannover/Aus-der-Stadt/Uebersicht/Amtsgericht-bestaetigt-Gutachten-zu-Generalmajor-Paul-Emil-von-Lettow-Vorbeck-ist-keine-Fehlleistung

It is absolutely sickening.

 

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear All,

Yes, a really outstanding portrait, with name - and now background history. Super!

The Wound Badge (Verwundetenabzeichen) could indeed date the portrait to post-Great War, I am unsure about that. But as far as the tailor-made group of EKII and Hanseatenkreuz is concerned - the Germans were swift and efficient regarding getting the medals to the recipients.

As John has said, the development of this contribution, has demonstrated the power and expertise of the GWF...

Kindest regards,

Kim.

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