Jump to content

Remembered Today:

Reporting of Downed Aircraft


Cam_s
 Share

Recommended Posts

I was wondering if the German's had any mechanism or reporting procedure for downed Allied Aircraft. For instance, if an allied fighter was shot down over German lines, was that unit responsible for sending a report to a central command or agency? If so, do any of these lists or reports survive?

Cam

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cam

Over the past year I have researched a number of airmen who were killed during the First World War. From my experiences it would appear that there was no one firm procedure for the relaying of information regarding the death of these men. Sometimes detailed information was passed up the chain of command and in other instances only a vague reference to a burial.

In some cases the notification of their death was then passed through the Red Cross and during the earlier years of the war also through the U.S embassy in Berlin. I have also come across references to reports in German news papers and research which was conducted in the German archives after the war.

At the moment I'm looking at a case of a British observer who was killed in 1917.His service record contains a copy of a note which was dropped at a British aerodrome informing the British authorities of his death and the location of his grave.

If the information regarding a particular officer has survived it will be located within the German First World War archives but unfortunately it is difficult to obtain access to these records.

Mick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Mick

I am in a similar situation. I relative of mine was reported killed through the red cross about 7 months after he was killed. I have a copy of the Volksbund register listing his burial the day after he was killed. I can not track down anything that would confirm his being shot down on the German side or anything official being sent to the British confirming his death.

Do you know if there are German researchers who could be hired to look?

Cam

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cam

Have you been able to access your relatives service record and the relevant squadron diary from the British National Archives in London? Sometimes these records provide information which may able you to paint a picture of the events leading up to his death. Another place to look would be the RAF museum at Hendon in London. The casualty cards are housed their and although these generally only provide personal information it is worth a try.

I have no experience in attempting to gain access to the German Archives from First World War. However I do believe that these records are organised by state so you will need the details regarding the German Regiment which was situated in the area of your relatives death before going any further. Even if you were able to gain access to the relevant German archives the probability of finding any detailed information must be next to zero.

Mick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Mick

I am in a similar situation. I relative of mine was reported killed through the red cross about 7 months after he was killed. I have a copy of the Volksbund register listing his burial the day after he was killed. I can not track down anything that would confirm his being shot down on the German side or anything official being sent to the British confirming his death.

Do you know if there are German researchers who could be hired to look?

Cam

I do research in German archives but it is not easy to find anything. Reports are irregular in normal units' papers, according to my experience.

Besides, a lot of the German archives (all states apart from Bavaria, Wurttemberg and Baden and partially Saxony) were destroyed during bombing raids in WW2. The German airforce archives were lost after Göring took them from the archives to have some sort of WW1 history of the war in the air written...

Jan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cam, What is your relative's name? There might be more details in my book The Sky Their Battlefield II - see the link below.

I've continued to research the No Known Graves fliers, and over the years looked at many AIR1 files at Kew which hold specific information about fliers' fates, fed back to the Allies from the Germans. Such info tends to be just part of the story, as the Allies worked diligently into the 1920s to locate these men, and files of these enquiries are in AIR1 as well. Have you looked?

Trevor

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the help Jan - I sent you an email on this topic in response to your translation before I saw this post.

Trevor - The names are Flt Cmdr JE Sharman and Flt Lt JA Page. I've been though lots of AIR1 files and can't seem to find documentation sent back to the UK by the Germans confirming the deaths. I have a letter from the Admiralty to Sharman's mother during the war which states in Jan 1918 the German's confirmed his death (7 months after being killed on 22 Jul 17). So that's why I am wondering about how this would have been reported and the information moved up the chain and over to the UK.

Thanks,

Cam

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Cam,

I will keep an eye out for these two. I see Sharman had been with 3 Wing RNAS and been forced down on a bombing raid in a Strutter the previous February.

Page and Sharman, in their Tripes, are likely to have met Jasta 11, and with so much written about that unit I would be hunting for corroboration regarding the details of their loss in various published books and articles on that Jasta.

Regards,

Trevor

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Cam

I don't know if this is any use to you, I assume you already know this, Page and Sharman

are buried side by side in Pont du Hem Cemetery near Estaires France. I visited this cemetery

last year to see some other RNAS graves, and have a photo of their headstones I think.

I believe Sharman's machine was hit by AA fire and Page was shot down by a pilot of JA11

as mentioned by Trevor above.

I could try to dig out the photo of the graves if you don't already have one

Regards

Geoff

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Would the Nachrichtenblatt der Luftstreitkraefte be of use here? The sections of it that I have seen report the date, the type of aircraft shot down, and the German pilot who took credit for it (but no information regarding what happened to the men in the downed plane). If this is of interest, I can provide a bit more detail--but other forum members can probably speak more authoritatively on it than I.

best,

--Marian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Would the Nachrichtenblatt der Luftstreitkraefte be of use here? The sections of it that I have seen report the date, the type of aircraft shot down, and the German pilot who took credit for it (but no information regarding what happened to the men in the downed plane). If this is of interest, I can provide a bit more detail--but other forum members can probably speak more authoritatively on it than I.

best,

--Marian

I would be interested to hear more about it. Anything listed for 22 Jul 17 for either Sharman or Page? Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, the Nachrichtenblatt der Luftstreitkraefte won't list the airmen's names, only the date of the crash, type of plane, and name of German pilot taking credit. But if you have the date of crash and the type of plane, you might at least get confirmation that the Germans took note of / credit for the downing.

I don't know when the NdL began publication, but I'm assuming prior to the July 22, 1917, date you mention. In any case, there would have been a lag between the crash and the report in the NdL. For example: the crash I was looking into happened on 10 June 1918; it was reported in the NdL for 8 August 1918.

There is a complete run of the NdL at the University of Texas, Dallas, in their special collections, in the papers of James L. Kerr III. Here's the URL for the finding aid to that collection:

http://www.utdallas.edu/library/specialcollections/hac/worldwar1/Kerr.html

In a similar situation, I wrote to Paul Oelkrug, who is head of special collections at UT/D, giving him all the details I could think of. He had one of his assistants contact me, and after some back ing and forthing, I received scans of the relevant pages. Oelkrug's address can be found at this page: http://www.utdallas.edu/library/specialcollections/hac/worldwar1/index.html

Do you read German (& Fraktur?). Even if you don't the listings are reasonably easy to decipher (columns for date, type of aircraft, and for pilot credited). But I'm happy to help translate.

best,

--Marian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...