Hauptmann Hans-Joachim Buddecke – German / Turkish Ace 1890 / 1918
Buddecke was born in Berlin, and followed in his father’s footsteps by joining the army. In 1904, he started as a cadet, in 1910, he received his commission as a Leutnant in the 115th Life Guards Regiment. He left the army in 1913, due to his new enthusiasm for flying.
In the same year he left Germany and went to America to start a new life, and flew for a time from the early Airfield in Cicero, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. While in America he worked as a mechanic at a car factory in Indianapolis. by saving his earning he was soon able to buy his own aircraft, A Nieuport Monoplane and taught himself to fly.
When war was declared, Buddecke abandoned his plans regarding a future in America. Travelling under a false name Buddecke returned to Europe on the Greek ship ‘Athene’ landing in Palermo, Italy. From there he immediately made his way home to Germany and Joined the German Army’s Fliegertruppe Air Service.
Buddecke was sent to the Western Front in September 1914. Initially he flew as an observer, but soon he would become a single-seater fighter pilot with FFA 23. Because of his previous experience flying monoplanes, Buddecke’s friend Rudolf Berthold, suggested that he should fly the first of the Fokker Eindecker aircraft assigned to the unit. Buddecke and Berthold flying the Eindecker and an AEG GII respectively, Formed a small Kampfstaffel within the unit, intercepting British reconnaissance aircraft. Buddecke scored his first three victories with this unit.
(C) Damian Grange 2018