Leutnant Werner Voss – German Ace 1897 / 1917
Werner Voss was born in Krefeld, Germany on the 13th of April 1897. He was the first of three brothers. his Father owned a dye factory. Young Werner was expected to continue the family trade as he grew into his heritage. However even before World War One burgeoned, he was already drawn toward patriotic service. When he finished his schooling at Krefeld’s Moltke Gynasium, he joined the Krefeld Militia.
In April 1914, disregarding conscription laws On the 30th of November , the underaged Werner Voss joined Ersatz Eskadron 2. As war erupted, Voss qualified as a motorcyclist and a motorcycle mechanic. He received his “Certificate of Graduation” as a motorcyclist on the 2nd of August 1914, subsequently his parents would give him a 3ooc.c. Vee-twin Wanderer motorcycle for his eighteenth birthday. After Germany entered World War One, he spent August and September 1914 as a civilian volunteer driver for the German military. the militia Ersatz Eskadron 2 had been set up to f.eed recruits to Westphalia’s 11th Hussar Regiment. On the 16th of November 1914, Voss became one of these recruits despite being only 17yrs old. On the 30th of November 1914, the Regiment was ordered to combat duty in the Eastern Front.
Voss was proficient in his military duties on the Eastern Front. he was promoted to Gefreiter on the 27th of January 1915, and raised to Unteroffizier, when barely 18yrs of age on the 18th of May 1915. His service earned him the Iron Cross 2nd class. He reported to begin Officer’s training at Camp Beckstadt on the 3rd of June 1915. Whilst there he was classified as a reservist, because of his flat feet and weak ankles. Voss graduated on the 26th of July 1915.
Voss transferred to the Luftstreitkraft (German Air Service) on the 1st of August 1915, joining Fleigerersatz – Abteilung 7 (Training Detachment 7) in Cologne. On the 1st of September he began learning to fly at Elgesberg airfield in his hometown of Krefeld. A gifted natural pilot, Voss made his first solo flight on the 28th of September. He was retained as an instructor at the training school after he graduated on the 12th of February 1916. On the 2nd of March as part of his progress toward becoming an Officer, he was promoted to Vizefeldwebel (a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer) He was the youngest flight instructor in the German service.
To Be Continued…………..
(C) Damian Grange 2018