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Thread: German Weather Squadrons (Wettererkundungsstaffel)

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    Default German Weather Squadrons (Wettererkundungsstaffel)

    Hallo All,
    I was trying to find if any meteorologists from the Luftwaffe (Wettererkundungsstaffel - Wekusta) Weather Recce Sqns have been located in the Cannock Chase German War Cemetery.
    I emailed CWGC.
    They emailed back saying that the names of German casualties in Cannock Chase Cemetery are "not in the public domain". They were, therefore unable to provide any list.
    Can somebody tell me why this is?
    Is any possible list available from an organisation in Germany? If so, which?
    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: German Weather Squadrons (Wettererkundungsstaffel)

    Peter,

    Try a question on TOCH.

    There are lists of known aircrew in the back of Kington and Selinger's "Wekusta" with dates of death where known. Unfortunately, no reference to Cannock Chase is included.
    Best Regards
    Andy Mitchell
    www.luftwaffedata.co.uk


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    Default Re: German Weather Squadrons (Wettererkundungsstaffel)

    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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    Default Re: German Weather Squadrons (Wettererkundungsstaffel)

    I know of two meteorologists who died over/close to the UK:

    1. Wd Insp (maybe recorded as Reg Rat) Leo Gburek (the met observer) died on 17 Jan 1941, when his He111 of Wekusta 1 Ob.d.L crash-landed on Fair Isle after being damaged by fighters based at, I think, Wick. Uffz Georg Neutwig was also killed but there were three survivors - Lt Karl-Heinz Thurz, Fw Joseph Wolfahrt and Uffz Berhard Luking. (Wekusta by Kington and Selinger).

    2. Wekusta also records the death of Reg Rat Dr Herman Freudenberg on 12 June 1940, when a Wekusta 51 Heinkel 111H-2, was shot down over the English Channel. However, the book's account of his death incorrectly describes the pilot, Oblt Gerd Nissen and flight engineer, Ofw Hans Peckhaus surviving by bailing out over southern England and becoming POWs.

    3. The reality is that the Heinkel was intercepted at 11500 ft over Gatwick by F/Sgt Gilbert in a 64 Squadron Spitfire. Gilbert attacked and hit one of the Heinkel's engines before running out of ammunition. His last sight of the enemy aircraft was smoke pouring from the damaged engine at 600 ft. Meanwhile Sgt Laws, also 64 Squadron, and scrambled 10 minutes after Gilbert, found the Heinkel crossing the Kent coast near Herne Bay, still at 600 ft. Laws made two attacks during which the enemy aircraft descended to wave-top height (tail touching the water) before two Spitfires of 610 Squadron joined in and the Heinkel settled on the water. (Combat reports)

    Meanwhile the Heinkel's last moments had been witnessed by the crew of a Margate fishing boat, the Golden Spray, 7 miles away. Reaching the wreckage they found three survivors - Oblt Gerd Nissen, flight engineer, Ofw Hans Peckhaus and the meteorologist, Freudenberg. Sadly he drowned before he could be rescued, but his body was taken to Margate with the other two crew members (two more had died in the wreckage) and handed to the Royal Navy. (Contemporary newspaper reports for 14 June (Isle of Thanet Gazette and the Daily Mirror)).

    Actually the bit about Freudenberg's body was not reported. In 2010 I traced a Margate historian, the late Mick Twyman, who interviewed one of the Golden Hind's crew and it was only then that I learnt of Freudenberg's story. It appears that after the Royal Navy took charge of his body it disappeared. That the authorities had his body is unquestionable because later that year a near pristine example of the secret weather code used by Wekusta crews was passed to the Met Office (via Bletchley); it is published on page 193 of Kington and Selinger's book - at the bottom of the code sheet is written Dr Freudenberg.

    Via Mick Twyman I subsequently traced the widow of Jack Pocock, the Golden Spray's captain, and she confirmed the fishing boat had indeed brought Freudenberg's body ashore.

    Mick was also kind enough to provide a photo of the Golden Spray and its crew, Jack Pocock (captain), Ben Richards (engineer) and 16-year-old Ken Ross.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 15th November 2023 at 21:44.

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    Default Re: German Weather Squadrons (Wettererkundungsstaffel)

    Hello Peter,
    I'm not sure if I understood your response from CWGC correctly, but if you do a CWGC on line casualty search, and put in Germany as the nationality of the casualty, those in Cannock Chase will come up, as will Germans who are buried elsewhere in the UK. I am sure that you could add extra parameters to the search.
    Best wishes
    James

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    Default Re: German Weather Squadrons (Wettererkundungsstaffel)

    Hello,

    Re: CWGC's claim, "not in the public domain"

    1/. Go to Find War Dead: https://cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead

    2/. Go to Served with (country) - enter German.

    3/. In the , Served in (army etc) box select Air Force.

    4/. In the War box, select Second World War.

    5/. In the Cemetery or Memorial (commemorated at) enter Cannock.

    6/. Hit Search

    You should get 1354 German Air Force personnel commemorated at Cannock Chase.

    7/. Select per page, 100.

    8/. To get them in alphabetical order, go back to sort by box (adjacent to SHOW 100 of 1354 WAR DEAD) select, in drop down list, Last name A-Z.

    Hit Enter.

    You will find brief details of other Luftwaffe War Graves in the UK, here:
    https://aircrewremembered.com/german...ves-in-uk.html

    Col
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 16th November 2023 at 08:48.

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    Default Re: German Weather Squadrons (Wettererkundungsstaffel)

    The two crewmen whose bodies were not recovered from the aircraft were Uffz Franz Bolinski and Uffz Willi Stiegelmeier (from 2010 correspondence with Brian Cull). I can't seem to find them in the Kracker archive - but that's probably my incompetence.

    Edit: Found them (worked it out for myself) at https://aircrewremembered.com/Kracke...rch_type=exact .

    The entry is, however, inconsistent. Although it states the survivors were picked up by the Golden Spray, it describes Freudenberg as being buried at sea by the Royal Navy. The only vessel in the vicinity was the Golden Spray and, as described at #4 Freudenberg's body was taken ashore.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 16th November 2023 at 12:05.

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    Default Re: German Weather Squadrons (Wettererkundungsstaffel)

    Hello All,
    I have found what I need due to your various help inputs - many thanks!
    I just found the CWGC statement that the German, etc, names in a publicly visitable cemetery in the UK were "not in the public domain" to be very strange. Thus my request for help/info/advice.
    Tks again.
    Peter
    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: German Weather Squadrons (Wettererkundungsstaffel)

    Hi Peter

    Looking at what info is available to view I presume what the responder meant by "not in the public domain" is the units the deceased was part of. Many of the army and naval personnel at a glance had their regiments or ships listed but not so air force (or at least very few). A search of the German casualty records on Fold3 might be fruitful, but you'd need to be well armed with unit abbreviations!

    Kind regards
    Pierre

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    Default Re: German Weather Squadrons (Wettererkundungsstaffel)

    Peter,

    Not exactly answering your question, but there was at least one POW Reg Rat, although I'm not sure whether he remained in the UK or was transferred to Canada.

    Reg Rat Ernst Franken was the only survivor of Wekusta 1 Ob.d.L Heinkel T5+AL, shot down by two Hurricanes of 3 Squadron on 25 July 1940. F/O D Jones and P/O J Lonsdale were scrambled from Wick at 07.10 hours, sighting the Heinkel 25 minute later flying at approximately 9000 ft above a continuous layer of cloud. Following four attacks the Heinkel disappeared into the cloud, one engine smoking and both wheels down. Lonsdale followed the e/a but found no sign if it when he broke cloud east of Westray. (AIR 50/4/30, AIR 50/4/32 and 3 Squadron ORB).

    Due to continuous cloud cover the actual location of the action could only be given as 'over the Pentland Firth'.

    Although the rest of the five-man crew drowned, a destroyer later found Franken in a rubber dinghy 12 miles off Rora Head (northwest coast of Hoy), possibly the same day. The bodies of Gefr Paul Muller and Uffz Roman Freitag, pilot and radio operator respectively, were later found on the west coast of Westray, possibly on 1 August, the date given on Freitag's headstone in St Olaf's Cemetery, Kirkwall (AIR 40/2398 Report No 221/1940).

    Born in 1910 Franken joined the Luftwaffe in 1936 and had flown as a meteorologist during the Spanish Civil War. When WW2 ended he continued his career with the Deutsches Wetterdienst, specializing in agricultural meteorology.

    Edit: My apologies to Ross who very kindly provided copies of some of the files on which this summary is based.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 19th December 2023 at 12:08.

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