Update on Feldwebel Kramer

The people who have shared all this information and pictures want to remain anonymous for the moment.

Hi Pierre,

This is one of the photos, both are on our photo archives I’m sure. This is almost definitely Kramer’s plane at Shornemead.

Hope this is of some help.

11880769_990909790931047_853585246_nThis is the other picture although very faded.

11880302_990944814260878_710655407_n One of our members has all the facts and I believe she has Kramer’s helmet. She is assured it’s Kramer plane. I’m hoping to hear from her so will keep you updated.

I have briefly spoken to two members, they own the two original photos of Kramer’s crashed Me-109.

I am assured they are definitely his plane, they also own his flying helmet that was given to them along with the photos back in the early 70s, although they can’t be 100 percent that it is his. Sorry but have no photo of it.

Should I get a photo, I will certainly let you know.

Anyway I can tell you that Kramer was shot down in combat over the river Thames on 31/8/1940 approximately 13.30 hrs by Sgt Norman Taylor of 601 Squadron, he was also shot down by Kramer’s wing man. He bailed out and his plane crashed into the marshes not far from where Kramer’s plane crashed and burned out.

logbook page

601 Squadron Re-created
Norman Taylor’s family private collection

Sgt Taylor visited Kramer a few days later who was badly burned.

The two photos as far as I can maintain have never been in print and so shouldn’t have any copyright attached, I’m sure it would be fine to post them on site.

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The man who shot down Günther Kramer

Click here.

Excerpt

After converting to Hurricanes he joined 601 Squadron at Tangmere on 7th August 1940. Taylor damaged a Ju88 on the 15th, claimed a Ju87 destroyed on the 18th and shared a He111 on the 30th. He destroyed a Me109 on the 31st. His own aircraft was then hit in the gravity petrol tank. Taylor baled out, unhurt. His Hurricane, P3735, crashed and burned out.

TaylorN-portrait1-opt

DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS (DFC)
Rank: Flying Officer
Awarded on: December 15th, 1942
Action: Citation:
“In November, 1942, this officer was the pilot of an aircraft launched by catapult from a ship in convoy in the Atlantic Ocean, to engage a Focke-Wulfe 200. Displaying great skill, Flying Officer Taylor intercepted and drove off the enemy aircraft before it could deliver an attack on any of the ships in the convoy. Despite adverse weather and in the face of strong opposing fire, he succeeded in destroying the enemy aircraft from close range.
His courageous and skilful work earned the admiration of officers of the ships in the convoy who witnessed the operation.”

Still looking

I am still looking for any lead in my search for Feldwebel Günther Kramer.

I even wrote to five Gunther Kramer on Facebook!

I found another piece of information here.

Eckehardt Priebe 1916 Oblt. 3 31.08.40 Gefangenschaft
Hans-Jürgen Ehrig 1912 Oblt. 3 31.08.40 Gefangenschaft
Hans Petrenko 1917 Lt. 0 31.08.40 Gefangenschaft
Walter Evers 1912 Fw. 0 31.08.40 gefallen, Luftkampf (Themsemündung)
Günther Kramer 1918 Fw. 0 31.08.40 gefallen, Luftkampf (Themsemündung)
Xaver Keck 1917 Uffz. 0 31.08.40 Gefangenschaft

I wonder where they got that information.

Feldwebel Günther Kramer (born 1918) shot down in an air combat over the Thames River. All six pilots were from JG51 “Molders” according to this Website.

I was tempted to look for the other pilots.

I could not resist.

Remember, I haven’t the faintess idea why I am doing all this.

PriebeSource here

Bf109BSpainnr6-33collageAeronet_PriebeSource here

I don’t know a lot about the Spanish Civil War.

It appears Eckehardt Priebe flew a Bf 109B-2.

Priebe

He shot down a I-16 on May 14, 1938.

He appears also he wrote a book.

Priebe

Gruppe

This will be my final article about Feldwebel Günther Kramer.

I am still not sure where this picture was taken,

Frankreich, Jagdflugzeuge Me 109 auf Feldflugplatz

and if those planes represent what Feldwebel Günther Kramer’s Bf 109E-1 looked like.

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Bundesarchiv says this picture was taken in France.

Frankreich, Jagdflugzeuge Me 109 auf Feldflugplatz

Inventory: Bild 101 I – Propagandakompanien der Wehrmacht – Heer und Luftwaffe
Signature: Bild 101I-058-1784A-14
Archive title: Frankreich.- Vier Jagdflugzeuge Messerschmidt Me 109 E des Jagdgeschwaders 51 “Mölders” (IV./JG 51) auf Feldflugplatz; PK 670
Dating: 1940 August – September
Photographer: Eckert, Erhardt
Origin: Bundesarchiv

Eduard’s Website says it was taken at Odendorf in Germany.

Frankreich, Jagdflugzeuge Me 109 auf Feldflugplatz

Wanderzirkus Janke at Odendorf base, in the summer of 1940. On the cowling of the aircraft in the foreground, the ‘Lumpenstiefel’ emblem of I./JG 77 can be seen. (Bundesarchiv Bild 101I- 058-1784A-14 via Wikimedia Commons)

My source who’s a member of 12 O’Clock High forum says also Odendorf.

Frankreich, Jagdflugzeuge Me 109 auf Feldflugplatz

One Wikipedia page says a similar picture was taken at Mont-de-Marsan, France.

Hannes-Trautloft-Further-Fate-2Gruppenkommandeur Hptm. Johannes ‘Jänki’ Janke (left) with officers of his Stab. In the fall of 1940, his Gruppe was made subordinate to Hannes Trautloft’s JG 54, which was paradoxical since Janke was formerly Trautloft’s superior. Janke was transferred to Stab 1. Jagddivision in February 1941. (Bundesarchiv 58-1784-17 via J. Prien)

Who to believe?

Was this insignia from JG51?

Hannes Trautloft Bf 109 shoe

Since I am not an expert on the Luftwaffe, I am trying to make sense on how the Luftwaffe was organized as well as all the information I have gathered on Feldwebel Günther Kramer who gave this memento to an English lady when he went back to Germany after the war.

Luftwaffe Feldwebel shoulder strap

Remember how this story started in the first place…?

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.

I look forward to your reply and if you would like a picture of the shoulder strap I will attach one when we next communicate.

With Thanks,

What was a Gruppe ? (Wikipedia)

Gruppe

The Gruppe was the basic autonomous unit in the Luftwaffe, in both administration and strategic use, much the same as in the American air forces of that time. Each Gruppe would have a Gruppenstab (“Group Staff flight”) of three aircraft. The Gruppe would be commanded by a Gruppenkommandeur, that would be a major or Hauptmann. He would have a small staff including administration, operations, medical and technical officers. A Gruppe usually occupied one airfield. Gruppen from the same Geschwader typically occupied adjacent airfields. Each would have an air signals platoon, mechanical and administrative personnel. There was also a trained fire-fighting crew doubling as police officers and staffed by the SS.[26]

As with the Geschwader combat wing formation, the Gruppe included staff officers tasked with additional administrative duties, usually an adjutant, technical, medical and operations officers. These officers were usually (though not always), experienced aircrew or pilots appointed from the operational cadre within the unit.

Gruppen organized within a combat wing were designated with Roman numerals: I, II, III and IV. This would be combined with the abbreviated Geschwader designation – for example, the second Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 11 would be designated II./JG 11. Each Gruppe in turn consisted of three Staffeln (squadrons). In total, each group had thirty to forty aircraft including the Gruppenstab. A Gruppe was often transferred from one Geschwader to another. After a transfer they would be re-designated. For example, Gruppe II of Jagdgeschwader 3, II./JG 3 was transferred to Jagdgeschwader 1 as Gruppe I and was re-designated I./JG 1. In the case of bomber Geschwaders, an Ergänzungsgruppen (training group) might be attached to a Geschwader as the fifth Gruppe and designated ‘V’ (Roman numeral 5).[6][26]

Although all Gruppen in a Geschwader performed the same role, they were not always equipped with the same aircraft. This was more prevalent in fighter Geschwader, but did occur in bomber units as well. Some groups of a fighter Geschwader would be equipped with Messerschmitt Bf 109s, while others would be equipped with Focke-Wulf Fw 190s. Among the bomber Geschwaders, some Gruppen would be equipped with Dornier Do 17s while others would have either Heinkel He 111s or Junkers Ju 88s.[26]

So Gruppe I from JG77 had three squadrons each having about 10 to 15 aircraft. This is what Wikipedia says about Staffle.

A Staffel was the equivalent of a squadron. It usually had twelve aircraft but some had as few as five or six aircraft due to losses, while others had as many as 16. It would be led by a Staffelkapitän ranking Hauptmann, Oberleutnant or sometimes Leutnant. Staffeln were numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals within a Geschwader irrespective of the Gruppe they came under. The Staffel designation would be similar to that of the Gruppe except for the Arabic numerals. For example, Staffel 6 of Jagdgeschwader 27 would be designated 6./JG 27. The Staffeln of Gruppe I would be numbered 1, 2 and 3. Those of Gruppe II would be numbered 4, 5 and 6. This was continued for the rest of the groups.

Let’s go back to this information that was given to me by a member on the 12 O’Clock High forum.

Taken from Luftwaffe Crash Archives Volume 3:

Luftwaffe Crash Archives Volume 3

31 August 1940 Bf 109E-1 Wn 6092 marks: 5+ unit: 1./JG 77

Place: Shornemead Fort, Gravesend, Kent at 13.20H

While escorting bombers at 23000 ft to Hornchurch aerodrome this aircraft was attacked by a Hurricane, the controls and engine being damaged and the aircraft made a belly landing but started to burn and was almost completely destroyed.

Markings: most of the nose appeared to have been painted yellow.

Pilot: Feldwebel Günther Kramer EK II badly burnt, POW

There are two photos of the Bf 109 after the fire had been put out and a note saying, the pilot had in his pockets three receipts from shops in Aalborg dated 19th August 1940.

If this information is correct, there would be pictures of the Bf 109E-1 Wn 6092 for all people to see. My source says that if these pictures existed, they would have been available a long time ago on the Internet.

So is all this information I have gathered on Feldwebel Günther Kramer true?

Luftwaffe Feldwebel shoulder strapI am still waiting for any of his relatives, if he had any, to contact me, and validate all this research.

Marquise-Ost

I have found from what airfield Feldwebel Günther Kramer took off on August 31st, 1940. He took off from Marquise-Ost in the Pas-de-Calais.

This is where I got information about this simple grass airstrip in France.

Near the French city of Marquise the Germans established two airfields to fight the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940 . The first of these, Marquise-Ost, was situated close to the village of Hydrequent, while the second, called Marquise-West by the Germans, was constructed near Ledquent. The location of the 2 airfields can be found on the GoogleEarth map below:

1. MARQUISE-OST

The airfield Marquise-Ost was established just to the north of the village of Hydrequent, as a simple grass airstrip. Today, nothing remains of the airfield.

The first Luftwaffe unit to arrive at the airfield was the II Gruppe/Jagdgeschwader 26which arrived on 21 July 1940 and stayed until 7 December of the same year. From 20 August 1940 it was joined by the I Gruppe/Jagdgeschwader 77. When this unit left the airfield on 21 November 1940, it was replaced from that date by the IV Gruppe/Jagdgeschwader 51, which remained until in December.

2. MARQUISE-WEST

The airfield Marquise-West was situated between the villages of Ledquent and Marquise, straddling both sides of the current motorway A16. Here too, the airstrip was grass only. However, some sources claim remains of concrete Rollstrasse or taxiways and emplacements for hangars can still be found today.

In 1940 the airfield was used systematically only by the Jagdgeschwader 51. As early as June 1940 the II Gruppe arrived and stayed until September 1940. The airfield was also used in 1941, notably from 16 April until 7 June 1941, by the IV Gruppe/Jagdgeschwader 51, which had stayed at Marquise-Ost the year before.

In the period June 1941-1942 the airfield was only used on an irregular basis, for example for emergency landings. However, until September 1942 Luftwaffe troops were stationed in Ledquent, very close to the perimeter, perhaps partly inside the perimeter of Marquise-West.  The names of the units involved clearly indicate their connection to the airfield: Fliegerhorstkompanie, Nachrichtenstelle, Flugleitung, Feuerwehr, Wetterstelle, 7. leichte Flakgruppe, Sanitätsstaffel. These units totalled 153 soldiers and were command by Luftwaffe Hauptmann Schueler, with Oberleutnant Fonfara as second-in-command.

After September 1942 the infrastructure was handed over to the Heer. However, many of the bunkers still remain today and explicitly show the close relationshup with the Luftwaffe through the abundant presence of paintings on walls and ceiling. More information on the bunkers of Stp 188 Schlesien can be found here.

3. FLIEGERHORSTKOMMANDANTUR

In the period June 1940 – September 1943 the airfield installations were governed by the Fliegerhorstkommandantur E 13/VIII. Initially commanded by Hauptmann Karl Hübschle, HauptmannFelix Peltzner took over in May 1943.

Now we know for sure where Feldwebel Günther Kramer took off on August 31st, 1940.

The next pictures were found on the same Website I took this picture from.

Bf-109E3-1.JG77-(W15+o)-side-profile-view-1939-01

We have pictures of Bf 109. The insignia on the cowl probably belongs to I Gruppe, but I can’t be sure.

Hannes Trautloft Bf 109 shoe

The caption is most interesting.

Frankreich, Jagdflugzeuge Me 109 auf Feldflugplatz

Bf-109E3-I.JG77-France-1940-03 captionBundesarchiv, Bild 101I-058-1784A14
Foto: Eckert, Erhart | 1940 August – September (source)

According to the caption, the picture was taken in France in August or September 1940.

Here are two other pictures without captions, but we can tell they were taken by the same photographer.

Bf-109E3-I.JG77-France-1940-01 Bf-109E3-I.JG77-France-1940-02

These three pictures seemed to make more sense when I read this one more time to go back in time on a small grass airstrip in Marquise…

Near the French city of Marquise the Germans established two airfields to fight the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940 . The first of these, Marquise-Ost, was situated close to the village of Hydrequent, while the second, called Marquise-West by the Germans, was constructed near Ledquent. The location of the 2 airfields can be found on the GoogleEarth map below:

1. MARQUISE-OST

The airfield Marquise-Ost was established just to the north of the village of Hydrequent, as a simple grass airstrip. Today, nothing remains of the airfield.

The first Luftwaffe unit to arrive at the airfield was the II Gruppe/Jagdgeschwader 26, which arrived on 21 July 1940 and stayed until 7 December of the same year. From 20 August 1940 it was joined by the I Gruppe/Jagdgeschwader 77. When this unit left the airfield on 21 November 1940, it was replaced from that date by the IV Gruppe/Jagdgeschwader 51, which remained until in December.

Feldwebel Günther Kramer probably would have taken off on August 31st, 1940 from Marquise-Ost on a plane similar to this one.

Bf-109E3-I.JG77-France-1940-01

I found More information on Marquise-Ost here.

But are we sure that all this information is true?

Frankreich, Jagdflugzeuge Me 109 auf Feldflugplatz

Bf 109E-3 1.JG77 (W15+o) side profile view 1939-01

This is where I got this picture from when I started looking for more information on the kind of plane Feldwebel Kramer flew.

Bf-109E3-1.JG77-(W15+o)-side-profile-view-1939-01This is the caption…

Bf 109E-3 1.JG77 (W15+o) side profile view 1939-01

My guess is that this is Bf 109E-3 from I Gruppen that was part of Jagdgeschwader 77.

Jagdgeschwader 77 (JG 77) Herz As (“Ace of Hearts”) was a Luftwaffe fighter Geschwader (US “wing”/UK “group”) during World War II. It served in all the German theaters of war, from Western Europe to the Eastern Front, and from the high north in Norway to the Mediterranean.

All three gruppen (US “groups”/UK “wings”) within the Geschwader operated variants of the Messerschmitt Bf 109. However, II. Gruppe is notable as the only German unit entirely equipped, albeit only during November–December 1943, with the Macchi C.205, a highly regarded Italian fighter. (Wikipedia)

The plane’s call sign was 15+o. That photo would have been taken circa 1939 to 1941. Are we sure about all this last information?

The location, the time period by looking at the camouflage?

I took most of my information on Wikipedia to figure out where and when Feldwebel Günther Kramer was stationed around August 1940.

I used the same search technique to find my famous Mosquito pilot, Eugene Gagnon who was not as well-known as he should have been.

Eugene Gagnon 1945collection Tom Cushing, via Peter Smith

Eugene Gagnon who flew 33 night intruder missions mostly over German airfields led me in a way to Feldwebel Kramer when Hilary Green found my blog about 23 Squadron.

Then she found me!

Then I found about her uncle’s story which she wrote. Then Marcus Bicknell found the blog paying homage to Hilary’s uncle, and the rest is history.

So why am I writing all this about this memento which is a shoulder strap that belonged to a Luftwaffe Feldwebel?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI haven’t the faintess idea.