Hauptmann Wilhelm Schramm had been born at Old Charlton, Kent, and lived in England until the age of 15 when on the death of his father, the London representative of the Siemens electrical firm, he returned to Germany and joined the army. He was given his first command in December 1915.
The SL-11, commanded by Wilhelm Schramm, arrived over northern London at St. Albans. As she bombed the northern suburbs, the airship was picked up by searchlights at Finsbury and Victoria Parks. Turning back to the north, the SL-11 was spotted by Second Lieutenant Robinson, the same pilot who had seen the LZ-98. Robinson approached and fired two full drums of the new Brock-Pomeroy ammunition to no effect. As the zeppelin cleared the searchlight defenses, the British plane made one more pass, firing another full drum into the airship's side. This time, a bright glow showed inside the ship, and within seconds, the fabric burned away as the airship turned into a blazing torch. Her slow descent to earth at Cuffley was not only seen by all of London, but also by the Navy zeppelins then making their approach. The L-16, commanded by Erich Sommerfeld was less than a mile away from SL-11 when she burst into flames, and she attracted the attention of one of the British pilots chasing SL-11. Sommerfeld however, sped off to the north, escaping the glare before the British planes could arrive at his position. Of all the airships, Frankenberg in the L-21 correctly deduced to cause of SL-11's loss. He and his crew 30 miles to the north could plainly see two aircraft around the Army airship, and after she caught fire, one was seen to drop red and green flares (which Robinson did do). The rest of the airships completed their bombing runs all across eastern England and safely returned to their bases, having dropped a total of 17 tons of explosives on English soil. The bombing caused £21,000 worth of damaged, at the cost of 16 airshipmen dead, and one £93,000 airship lost.
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Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Mathy born 4th April, 1883 at Mannheim, Germany, died 2nd January, 1916 at Potters Bar, England.
Kapitanleutnant Heinrich Mathy achieved a rare accolade during the Great War; he was one of very few Germans whose names were household words in Britain. During the "Zeppelin Scourge" of 1915 and 1916, Mathy was known and feared as the most daring and audacious of all the Zeppelin raiders.
Born on 4th April, 1883 in Mannheim, Mathy decided, while still a boy, that he wished to make his career in the German Navy. He was an exceptional cadet and achieved command of his own ship earlier than was usual in those days.
Having been selected for a possible Naval Staff role, he spent two years at the "Marine Akademie" and it was during his two summers there, 1913 and 1914, that he was able to fly in Count Fedinand von Zeppelin's dirigible airships.
At the beginning of 1915, Mathy was tranferred to airships at the insistence of Peter Strasser, ( Führer der Luftschiffer - Leader of airships) and took part in his first raid on England a few days later, on 13th January, being forced to turn back on this occasion because of bad weather. Later, however, he flew on several raids over England, usually over Northern England. On 8th September, 1915, Mathy's L13 italic) caused great damage by fire to the central area of London itself, and further damage was caused when Mathy returned to the capital on the night of 13th/14th October.
By the following Summer, Mathy, in command of the new ship, L31 was ready for more attacks on London. He attacked on the night of 24th/25th August, 1916, again causing considerable damage. The L31 was damaged on landing on this occasion and while it was grounded for repairs, news came in that the British had, for the first time, managed to shoot down an airship by using incendiary bullets.
As more airships crashed to earth in flames in the following weeks, Mathy must have known that the days of the airship as a terror-weapon were numbered. He wrote:
"It is only a question of time before we join the rest. Everyone admits that they feel it. Our nerves are ruined by mistreatment. If anyone should say that he was not haunted by visions of burning airships, then he would be a braggart."
Mathy and his crew "joined the rest" when L31 attacked London for the last time on the night of 1st/2nd October, 1916, to be shot down in flames by 2/Lieut. W. J. Tempest. The ship fell just oustide Potters Bar, to the North of London. Mathy's body was found some way from the wreckage of the ship, half-embedded in the corner of a field. Obviously, his last act had been to leap clear of the falling inferno rather than wait for the crash. According to some accounts, he lived for a few minutes after striking the earth.
Originally buried at Potters Bar, the bodies of Mathy and his crew were moved in the early 60s to Cannock Chase in Staffordshire, where a new cemetery had been constructed for the burial of all Germans from both World Wars who died on British soil. He lies buried there with his crew, near the entrance, along with the commanders and crews of the other three airships which were shot down over England.
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Oberleutnant zur See Werner Peterson has been described as a gay youngster with a reputation of being the best ship-handler in the service. His first command was the Zeppelin L7, which was used for naval patrols over the North Sea. In June, 1915, he took command of the L12. In August he flew on his first bombing raid over England. He got lost, like many other airship commanders and he reported dropping a load of bombs on "Harwich". In fact they fell in the sea off Dover. The ground-based defences opened fire and the ship received a direct hit. Because of the leaking gas the L12 came down in the English Channel. A German boat towed it to Ostend - where it was destroyed by fire.
His next airship was the L16 - and on 13th October the 18 explosive and 30 incendiary bombs he believed he had dropped on "Stratford, East Ham and West Ham" actually killed nine people, and injured fifteen, in Hertford3. The following January the planned target was Liverpool, but he had to turn back for technical reasons. Peterson claimed to have dropped two tons of bombs on "Great Yarmouth" but ground-based reports only record that two bombs fell at Swaffham, some 43 miles away. At the end of March the bombs he dropped on "Hornsey" actually fell north of Brentwood, in Essex. On 2nd May the Zeppelin L23 dropped an incendiary bomb on an empty part of the North York Moors, setting the heather alight. Peterson, following in the L16, unloaded his bombs onto open moorland, thinking that Stockton on Tees was ablaze. On his return to Germany he optimistically claimed "well-placed hits on buildings at the site of the fire, as well as clearly recognisable railroad tracks and embankments".
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Friedrich Wilhelm von Pavelsz, Fritz Otto, Michael Hofmockel,
Bruno Schievelbein, Adalbert Thimian
|Leutnant Friedrich Wilhelm von Pavelsz|
born 03 January 1921 in Stolp, fallen on 24 February 1944
Unteroffizier Fritz Otto
born 07 April 1921 in Königsberg, POW
Unteroffizier Michael Hofmockel
born 23 March 1922 in Ansbach, POW
Obergefreiter Bruno Schievelbein
born 22 December 1922 in Neustettin, fallen on 24 February 1944
Gefreiter Adalbert Thimian
born 22 January 1923 in Praust, fallen on 24 February 1944
This aircraft was shot down by F/Lt R. C. Pargeter and F/Lt R. L. Fell in a Mosquito of No. 29 Squadron.
At around 21.55 hours Mosquito saw the JU-188 of Lt. Pavelsz to the east.
A chase ensued and enemy aircraft wrongly identified as a Me 410 (was infact Pawelsz Ju 188). Several short bursts were given at varying ranges, 200 yds - 50 yds during the dog fight in which the enemy aircraft was constantly in and out of the searchlights, but the A.I. contact was maintained. Finally F/Lt Pargeter from slightly below gave a burst into the belly of the aircraft then pulled up the nose and gave a burst from 50 yds astern seeing the starboard engine and whole of fuselage a sheet of flame. Enemy aircraft went down in a slow spiral and was followed by search-lights and seen to blow up on the ground at 21.59 hours. A fix was then obtained N of West Malling.
The A.I.(k) Report No.92/1944 states the following:
This aircraft was approaching the coast of Kent when a fire occurred in the tail unit. The radio operator and gunner baled out, and the aircraft crashed with the pilot and observer still onboard. According to local reports, some cannon or M.G. fire was heard in the air shortly before the aircraft was seen to crash.The body of the fifth member of the crew, possibly an extra gunner, was found in the wreckage, but his name could not be established.
Pictures and information kindly provided by the Air Crew Remembrance Society.
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