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Thread: Luftwaffe Air Met Observers Buried in UK

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    Default Luftwaffe Air Met Observers Buried in UK

    Hello All,
    The various Luftwaffe Wekusta (= Wettererkundungsstaffel) squadrons were the Axis equivalent of our Met Recce Sqns in WW2. Wekusta 5 & 6 suffered more than 50 fatal casualties of the on-board Met Observers during WW2. Some others must have been taken POW by the Allies? Does anybody know if any of those POWs, who subsequently died, or whos remains were washed ashore in UK and Ireland, are still buried there?
    The Luftwaffe Met Air Observers held various pseudo-military ranks (they were, basically, civil servants employed by Wetterdienst, but uniformed during wartime). These were:
    Reg Ass
    Reg Rat (Regierungs-Rat, which roughly translates to Government Official = beamter (q.v.)).
    Wd Insp (Wetterdienst inspector).
    Wd Oinsp (Wetterdienst O(?)inspector).
    I did try, a couple of years ago, to contact what I thought might have been the German equivalent of CWGC (my German is negligible!) but got no reply.
    Does anybody know if/where a list of Luftwaffe POWs (with ranks/trades!) in UK is, and can it be accessed?
    Grateful for any steers!
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Default Re: Luftwaffe Air Met Observers Buried in UK

    I have a note of the following Wekusta sea losses but all fatal to crews as far as I know.

    31 Mar 40, Wekusta 26, Dornier Do 17Z-2 - no crew named - Lost over Channel

    9 May 40, Wekusta Ob.d.L, Dornier Do 17Z, 4 killed including Obfw A Fally, Shot down by No.43 Sqn and No.605 Sqn into the North Sea off Dunnet Head at 11:45 hrs. Obfw Fally's body was recovered and now rests in Cannock Chase Military Cemetery.

    4 Jan 1941, Wekusta 26, Dornier Do 17Z, Crashed into the sea south west of the Shambles, Portland, Dorset at 14:00 hrs. Believed shot down by No.152 Sqn.
    Reg.Rat.a.Kr.Dr. S Russ
    Gefr W Seurig
    Obergefr B Altmann
    Uffz S Schwan

    13 April 41, Wekusta 51,Heinkel He 111H-3, Shot down by No.152 Sqn while on mission to St.George's Channel. Landed in the Channel off Falmouth at 11:14 hrs.
    Oberfw W Decker
    Reg.Rat G Grundel
    Oberfw F Zahn
    Gefr H Steinbrecht
    Oberfw F Ehlers

    27 Jun 42, Wekusta 51, Junkers Ju 88D-5, Shot down by No.125 Sqn and crashed into the sea 15 miles south of Hook Head, County Wexford, Eire, at 09:33 hrs.
    Oberfw H Reiger
    Reg.Rat. F Herd
    Oberfw G Gebel
    Uffz G Bohm



    Ross
    Last edited by Ross_McNeill; 9th September 2021 at 17:37.
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    Default Re: Luftwaffe Air Met Observers Buried in UK

    Two dead in Ireland

    Buried in Glencree

    March 3, 1942 Junkers Ju-88 1429 CN+DU
    Wekusta 2
    Lt. Walter THALHEIM +
    Uffz. Heribert BILLA +
    Fw. Eduard KREISS +
    Inspektor Georg ENDRES +
    Inspektor Georg ENDRES

    July 23, 1943 Junkers Ju-88 430030 D7+DK
    Wekusta 2
    Ballinacarriga Hill, Beara Penninsula (near Dursey Island)
    Uffz. Hans AUSCHNER + 67189/72
    Gefr. Gerhard DMMLER + 67189/74
    Obgefr. Johannes KASCHIDLO + 67189/73
    Reg.Rat. Bruno NOTH + 67189/57
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Default Re: Luftwaffe Air Met Observers Buried in UK

    An addition for Ross's list:

    12 June 1940, Wekusta 51, Heinkel He 111. Attacked by Flight Sergeant Gilbert and Sergeant Laws of 64 Squadron and F/Lt Ellis of 610 Squadron. Severely damaged the Heinkel pancaked on the sea off Margate. The latter part of the action was seen by the three crew of the Margate based fishing boat, the Golden Spray, (Jack Pocock), which attempted to rescue the crew. On reaching the wreckage they found three survivors in the water

    Oblt Gerd Nissen (Pilot)
    Obfw Hans Peckhaus (Observer)
    Reg.Rat Dr Hermann Freudenberg (Meteorologist) who died before he could be rescued

    There was no sign of the other two crew members:
    Uffz Franz Bolinski +
    Uffz Willi Stiegelmeier +

    However, the story does not quite end here. A short time later Bletchley Park began decoding Wekusta weather messages using an almost pristine handwritten code table which had Freudenberg's name on it. This suggests it was found on his body after it was brought ashore - despite there being no record of his burial.

    I managed to trace Pocock's wife and a Margate historian, Mick Twyman, who interviewed the crew. Both believe Freudenberg's body was brought ashore, a belief supported by the fact that the code table was undamaged by water.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 9th September 2021 at 20:33.

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    Default Re: Luftwaffe Air Met Observers Buried in UK

    Hello All,
    Mni tks yr prompt replies – much appreciated. Not as many as I had assumed!
    Bear in mind that Lyffe’s Dr Hermann Freudenberg was (possibly, in 1940) also the W/Op. If we had admitted that we had found him then we would have had to tell the Protecting Power. They would tell the Germans, who would then realise that the Wekusta code(s) had probably been compromised. So, I suspect that Dr Freudenberg never “officially” existed in UK. There might be, in the surrounding area, a grave of “An Airman – Known Unto His God”. Thanet Crematorium is also in Margate.
    I am aware that CWGC remain in contact with their equivalent body in Germany, but I was surprised at the difficulty in getting any contact with the German “CWGC” in view of my own experience of seeing the vast, imposing, German War Memorial on the south side of Tobruk Harbour (GE 32.054180 23.974736 – Note: almost all the surrounding building(s) is since it was originally built!).
    There is no project! It was simply trying to locate where any of “their lot” were buried so that “our lot” – if in the area – could Pay Respects. We were both – after all - in the same “trade”!!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Default Re: Luftwaffe Air Met Observers Buried in UK

    Peter

    The Germans were far ahead of the British in respect of using aircraft for data gathering from areas from which there was little information, and had begun developing their met reconnaissance squadrons (Wekusta) before the war. (Wekusta: Luftwaffe Meteorological Reconnaissance units and operations 1938 - 1945. Kington and Selinger, 2006). They operated over both land and sea in all theatres of war. Meteorologists had no secondary role, they were part of the crew for one reason only, making weather observations. In some instances they were considered second class citizens by the Luftwaffe crew members despite the fact they faced the same dangers.

    Brian

    Edit. As an aside you might be interested in https://www.tracesofwar.com/persons/...staffel-26.htm
    Last edited by Lyffe; 10th September 2021 at 14:13.

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