Little by little I am finding more and more information on Feldwebel Günther Kramer who gave this memento to a lady in England after the war.
We started our search with this piece of information.
Last year we were given an envelope which held a shoulder strap with the following written on the front.
Sgt Major Günther Kramer was a Messerschmitt pilot shot down over Kent. He was taken as a POW. He was one of five billeted out on Chivers Farm Aldreth near Ely (Cambs).
He gave me his pilots shoulder strap as a souvenir when he returned to Germany, we called him Jack, he had been a school teacher before being called up, he came from Altenburg, he wrote a few letters when he returned home.
I have done some research to try and find any descendants so that we could return these items but without success and wondered if you might be luckier.
Feldwebel Günther Kramer was a pilot with I. Gruppe of JG77. Feldwebel means his rank was sergeant.
His Gruppenkommandeure was Hptm Johannes Janke who was in charge from 1 May 1939 to 21 November 1940. His name is mentioned here with this other German pilot.
From 31 July 1940 to 25 August 1940, this unit was stationed at Aalborg-West and was flying Bf 109 E. From 25 August 1940 to 21 November 1940 this unit was stationed at Marquise-Mimoyecques in the Pas-de-Calais, still flying on Bf 109 E.
This is a picture of a Bf 109 E-3 taken from this Website.
Feldwebel Günther Kramer was flying a Bf 109 E-1, no.5, werknummer 6092.
I have modified the image of the plane above. That would probably represent Feldwebel Günther Kramer’s plane.
This is another picture of a Bf 109 E of 1./JG77 taken on the same Website.
This next picture is another Bf 109 E from the same unit. This plane was shot down on the exact same date and in the same region as Günther Kramer’s plane.
The Bf 109 E-4, ‘White 13’ of Oblt. Hans-Jurgen Ehrig, the Staffelkapitan of 1./JG77, lies crumpled in a field at Gates Farm near Tenterden, Kent on the afternoon of POW 31st August 1940. Damaged by fighters while over Hornchurch on an escort mission, Ehrig attempted to return to France but, harried by F/Lt. M.L. Robinson of 601 Sqn, he was forced to put his damaged aircraft down and was subsequently taken prisoner. POW 31st August 1940 was disastrous for JG77 which, newly introduced to the Battle of Britain, lost five aircraft from 1. Staffel and one from 2. Staffel.
Feldwebel Günther Kramer was not the only German pilot shot down on August 31st, 1940.
About the Bf 109 E…
Messerschmitt Bf 109 E Emil
On the ground the Bf 109 was tricky to handle but in the air it was lethal. Allied designers made their aircraft easy for any novice pilot to handle and as a result where able to throw new pilots into combat at a much faster rate and during the ‘Battle of Britain’ this is one of many factors that help win the Battle. As pilot loses mounted the Luftwaffe faced more accidents which also took it’s toll on materials and resources.
The Bf 109’s small rudder was relatively ineffective at controlling the strong swing created by the powerful slipstream of the propeller during the early portion of the takeoff roll, and this sideways drift created disproportionate loads on the wheel opposite to the swing. If the forces imposed were large enough, the pivot point broke and the landing gear leg would collapse outward into its bay. Experienced pilots reported that the swing was easy to control, but some of the less-experienced pilots lost fighters on takeoff.
Because of the large ground angle caused by the long legs, forward visibility while on the ground was very poor, a problem exacerbated by the sideways-opening canopy. This meant that pilots had to taxi in a sinuous fashion which also imposed stresses on the splayed undercarriage legs. Ground accidents were a problem with rookie pilots, especially during the later stages of the war when pilots received less training before being sent to operational units. At least 10% of all Bf 109s were lost in takeoff and landing accidents, 1,500 of which occurred between 1939 and 1941. The installation of a fixed “tall” tailwheel on some of the late G-10s and 14s and the K-series helped alleviate the problem to a large extent.
From the inception of the design, priority was given to easy access to the powerplant, fuselage weapons and other systems while the aircraft was operating from forward airfields. To this end, the entire engine cowling was made up of large, easily removable panels which were secured by large toggle latches. A large panel under the wing centre section could be removed to gain access to the L-shaped main fuel tank, which was sited partly under the cockpit floor and partly behind the rear cockpit bulkhead. Other, smaller panels gave easy access to the cooling system and electrical equipment. The engine was held in two large, forged, magnesium alloy Y-shaped legs which were cantilevered from the firewall. Each of the legs was secured by two quick-release screw fittings on the firewall. All of the main pipe connections were colour-coded and grouped in one place, where possible, and electrical equipment plugged into junction boxes mounted on the firewall. The entire powerplant could be removed or replaced as a unit in a matter of minutes.