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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Hans Rolshoven


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Hi all

Can any one help with this Shoreham Airport man please?

He gained Aviators Cert 560 on July 14 1913, he then spent some time at Shoreham before returning to Germany.

During the war I think he flew with the German navy.

In Feb 1937 the German navy launched a seaplane tender with his name so he must have been someone special!

Anything anybody?


Tim Hogben

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Quite a few things crop up when I Google for him includng:







Here is Google's translation of the wiki page:

Hans Rolshoven (born December 23, 1894 in Stralsund , † May 6, 1918 at Dunkirk ) was a German naval aviator in the First World War .


Rolshoven had already taken July 14, 1913 at the British Royal Aero Club his pilot examination. After the beginning of the First World War, he volunteered for seafaring and served first as a midshipman on the seaplane in Kiel-Holtenau . Towards the end of 1914, he reported to the front line as a seafarer in occupied Flanders , where OLt. Friedrich Arnauld de la Perière had begun with the construction of the Flanders I Zeebrugge in Zeebrugge . There, Rolshoven, now promoted to lieutenant at sea , flew numerous reconnaissance, bombing, salvage and rescue missions, either individually or as part of the Seeflugstaffel III. After the shooting of a British machine, he was officially awarded an aerial victory . On October 17, 1916, Rolshoven was seriously injured when he collided with another machine in his squadron. He used the required longer hospital stay to write down his experiences at the sea air base Zeebrugge and the Seeflugstaffel III. His records were published in 1937 as a book.

In September 1917 Rolshoven was ordered to set up in Nieuwmunster (about 8 km southwest of Zeebrugge) as a relay leader the new, designed for the escort of heavy seaplanes Seefrontstaffel I (Seefrosta I). At the latest on 21 October took the first machines of the squadron their first reconnaissance flight. On October 28, the squadron already consisted of seven pilots, and 12 of their 15 aircraft were ready. They were fighters of the type Albatros DV , later also Fokker D.VII and Fokker D.VIII were added. Since these were in all cases wheeled airplanes, they had special inflatable floats in the hull in the event of ditching at sea. The first aerial victory of a relay member scored on December 18, 1917 flight master Albin Buehl.

Rolshoven died on 6 May 1918 in the crash of his machine before Dunkirk in an accident in rough seas. He was buried in Zeebrugge. Lieutenant Reinhold Poss took over the leadership of Seefrosta I. When the squadron was disbanded in August / September 1918 and divided into the newly established Marine Field Yasta IV and V, Poss became leader of the Feldjasta IV.



Rolshoven was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class, Iron Cross 1st Class and the Hohenzollernorden with swords .

The Luftwaffe named after him in February 1937 launched an air traffic control ship after him, the Hans Rolshoven .



Edited by Gareth Davies
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Thank you for that 

Good stuff


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Rolshoven was extremely well regarded during the Great War — he was one of only some 320 officers associated with* the Kaiserliche Marine awarded the very prestigious Royal House Order of Hohenzollern (RHOH), the intermediate award for commissioned officers between the Iron Cross First  Class and the Pour le Mérite. If the Germans were going to name a seaplane tender in 1938 after someone, he'd be a good  and obvious choice.


* I say "associated with" as the Marinekorps Flandern included German navy naval, air, and land forces. A far number of German army officers, both land and air, were assigned to the Marinekorps Flandern, and about 20 of the RHOH awards were to army officers.

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Zeebrugge ChurchyardDSC_3358.JPG.23d33195c0fa87e536a03a2cb39581d7.JPG001.jpg.afec2489e2a7d60a20ceb973fb94f4ec.jpg

More about Rolshoven in my book:RECENSIE.jpg.5ebc0cb715259bed852fa0a9754b5b64.jpg

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Michael, Cnock

Thank you for your help, what a man to find in those who spent time at Shoreham in the early days.


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Probably not unknown to you: https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1913/1913 - 0764.html 


There could be more information in 

  • Theo Emil Sönnichsen (Hg.): Seeflieger in Flandern – aus den Tagebuchblättern des Leutnants zur See Hans Rolshoven. Mittler und Sohn, Berlin, 1937 

However, this book is written in German language and hard to get. I don't know if lines in his war diary mention his early career too but Sönnichsen could have added some relevant info. 

Furthermore, contemporary local sources and aviation journals could provide more info as well.   

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The book about Rolshoven also describes the Seeflugstation Zeebrugge and its aviators from the start in 1914. Rolshoven arrived in september 1916.





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  • 4 months later...

Hello all,

I just stumbled upon this thread. I am actually related to Hans Rolshoven ( he is my maternal great-great uncle). I am currently trying to find out more about him as my grandmother ( his niece) only knew what her mother told her -which was not much. 

I have been successful in securing a copy of his war-diary ( Seeflieger in Flandern) which is a fantastic read although written in old-style German and therefore even for a native German hard to read. 

Assuming the Editor ( Kapitän Sonnichsen) did not edit too much of the book, Hans seemed to have been a very funny guy who took the war and his encounters with the enemy with a certain lightheartedness.

He does speak of his enemies in an extremely respectful manner though. It almost seems as if both sides ( at least when aviators are concerned) fought with respect and sometimes even admiration for the other side.


I would be very grateful if anyone has any further information on Hans especially concerning family members , early life ( the only thing I know is that he was the first to obtain a pilot's license in Shoreham and ended up flying against his former teacher in the war.



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