Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest
Josef ‘Seppi’ Veltjens – German Fighter Ace 1894 / 1943
Josef Veltjens was born in Geldern, in the Rhineland. He was the son of a factory Manager, He attended Humanisti High School in Berlin then Charlottenburg where he attended the Technical University where he read mechanical engineering. His primary area of interest was the Internal Combustion Engine.
He enlisted in the Kaiserin Augusta Guards Regiment No.4 on the 3rd of August 1914, four days later, he and his regiment were at the front. When his column was attacked by the French, Veltjens and three others tried unsuccessfully to defend it, The vehicles were set on fire. As, a straggler Veltjens joined Regiment No.8 promotion to Vice Feldwebel soon followed. After several requests he was sent for Aviation Training.
On the 2nd of December 1915, at Johannisthal near Berlin, Veltjens first soloed in an Aircraft. He took his Pilot’s examination on 15th December after three solo flights. without waiting for Official Pilot’s ticket, he took advantage of the confusion caused by the holiday season and flew himself to Tergnier.
He was posted as a Member of Flieger Abteilung 23 on May 10th 1916 to fly reconnaissance missions. because of his success there, he was commissioned as a Leutnant der reserve. He served there with another future ace Rudolf Berthold. from there he moved on to single – seat fighters with the Royal Prussian Jagdstaffeln 14 when Berthold took over its command.
Veltjens scored his first victory over a Spad, On the 14th of April 1917 whilst flying a Albatros DIII with his personal marking of a white barbed arrow painted the length of the fuselage from the red nose back to the blue fuselage. By the 1st of June, he had downed three more Spads and a Farman. Berthold had mentored him on these, but he was a hard taskmaster.
To Be Continued ……….
(C) Damian Grange 2018