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JesseP

Spiked German Helmet - Searching for identity of original owner

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JesseP

Sometime in 1918, my grandfather, an American Army runner who fought in France, sent home a spiked German helmet. My family has been the custodian of it ever since for the past 100+ years, but I am hoping to give it back to the family of the rightful owner. I think it has enough clues on it to find out just who the German Soldier was. But I need some experts to help me out. It has two names written inside it, "Trompeter" and "Hoppe" as well as what appears to be a unit number written in two different places "R.F.L.21". Also, below the second P in Hoppe's name there looks to be what might possibly be a small number 8. In researching the war casualty lists on Ancestry's website, I found only 92 named Trompeter and 4,339 named Hoppe. Someone also pointed out to me it could have been someone who was captured and not killed so that adds to the possibilities but at least they are not very common names and the fact there are two of them should help narrow it down because they were likely in the same unit and one fell before the other perhaps.

 

Any help / discussion would be greatly appreciated in my search for identifying these Soldiers.

 

Thank you!

 

Jesse

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Hoppe.jpg

Trompeter.jpg

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SHJ

Wow.  I can't help but... that is quite a thing to have.

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George Rayner

Welcome to the forum and good luck.

 

Isn't 'trompeter' German for trumpeter?

 

George

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corisande
charlie2
2 hours ago, George Rayner said:

Welcome to the forum and good luck.

 

Isn't 'trompeter' German for trumpeter?

 

George

Correct :) The only thing that occurs to me for RFL 21 is Reserve Feld Lazarett 21. If there were over 4300 entries in the Verlustlisten, I think  you are going to be very lucky to find a Trompeter Hoppe, good luck.

Charlie

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SHJ

The pike helmet was long disused by 1918.  I wonder if your ancestor bought it? Hoppe is German for Shop I think.  Mind you, if you compare the o from Trompeter the o in Hoppe it looks more like a u to me so that would be Huppe.  Trompeter Huppe from Reserve Field Hospital 21 prior to 1917...

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JesseP

A man I've been talking to in Germany who is helping me with some research on that end told me they too believed R.F.L. was likely "Reserve Feld Lazarett". As for Trompeter vs Hoppe it looks to me like two different handwritings. And for Trompeter being Trumpeter I don't think it is likely someone would be writing a specialty in their helmet. I was a tanker on the Army and I would not have written "tanker" on my things as much as I love tanks. Trompeter was/is a Prussian last name, albeit not a very common one. There are a few scenarios why there would be two names, maybe one got killed or captured before the other? 

 

That is interesting to hear about that style having been phased out by 1918. The only evidence I have from my grandfather as to the helmet's origin is a telegram from France dated towards the end of the war sent to a friend telling him he was sending him a helmet and if he can please hold onto it until he gets back. It is very possible that he traded something or bought it from one of his French or British counterparts who had it and had been fighting the war for much longer. Incidentally there is a stamp inside the brim that says "T.IV.1913". Do we know when this style was phased out? Also if he was recovering in a field hospital maybe it was with his things there at the hospital?

 

As for the field hospital unit, it is very possible he could have just been recovering there. Does anyone know where to find the rosters for that time period for Prussian units? I signed up for Ancestry by just see Bavarian unit records on there.

 

Thank you everyone for your help on this.

Edited by JesseP

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