Leutnant Werner Voss – German Ace 1897 / 1917 Part 6
Voss returned from leave on the 23rd 0f September 1917 not yet fully rested; as fellow pilot Alois Heldmann observed, ‘He had the nervous instability of a cat, I think it would be fair to say that he was flying on his nerves.’ Nevertheless, Voss flew a morning mission and shot down an Airco D.H.4 from 57 Squadron at 09.30 hrs.
Upon his return to base with bullet holes in his Fokker. He took advantage of Richtofen’s absence at the Voss family hunting lodge to celebrate with a victory loop before landing. In contrast to Voss’s usual tidy flying garb, he was wearing striped gray trousers, dirty gray sweater ands high lace-up boots.
Just before Werner landed, brothers Max and Otto Voss arrived at Jasta 10 for a visit. They were both now in the German Military, Otto was a 19yrs old Army Leutnant bucking for an opportunity to become a flier like his elder brother. Max Jr. was a 16yrs old sergeant. The young Ace was fatigued and told his brothers he was eagerly awaiting further time off. His brothers noticed his haggard appearance, so apparent in his final photographs. After a meal, the Voss brothers posed before Werner’s camera, which was fitted with a time release shutter. Then Voss was scheduled for another patrol.
On the other side of the lines, 56 Squadron was mustering for its own patrols, ‘B’ Flight was led by Capt. James Mc Cudden, himself an Ace with a final total of 57 victories, his flight included Lt. Arthur Rhys-Davids and Capt, Keith Muspratt, also both Aces. Three other pilots were attached to ‘B’ flight for this sortie, Lts. V.P. Cronyn, R.W.Young and Charles Jeffs.
Also mustering for patrol was flight ‘C’ led by Capt. Geoffrey Hilton Bowman followed by Lt. Reginald Hoidge and Lt. Richard Maybury all three also Aces, completing the flight were Lts E.A. Taylor and S.J. Gardiner.
On the German side of the lines, Voss had changed clothing, he wore a colourful civilian silk dress shirt beneath his unbuttoned knee length brown leather flying coat. His brown flying boots shone from beneath the hem of his coat. His Pour Le Merite was at his throat.
To Be Continued …………..
(C) Damian Grange 2017