Leutnant Paul Wilhelm Baumer – German Ace 1896 / 1927
Baumer was born on the 11th of May 1896 in Duisburg, Germany. Prior to World War One he worked as a dental assistant, and earned a private pilot’s license by the summer of 1914.
At the outbreak of war, he joined the 70th Infantry Regiment. He served in both France and Russia, being wounded in the arm in the latter. He then transferred to the Air Service as a dental assistant before being accepted for pilot training.
By October 1916, he was serving as a ferry pilot and instructor at Armee Flugpark 1, on the 19th of February 1917 he was promoted to Gefreiter. On the 26th of March he was assigned to Flieger Abteilung 7; He was promoted to Unterofficier on the 29th.
On the 15th of May 1917, he was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class. He subsequently received training on single-seaters, in consequence being posted to fighter duty. Baumer joined Jagdstaffel 5 on the 30th of June 1917, scoring three victories as a balloon-buster in mid- July before being transferred to the elite Jasta Boelcke.
Baumer claimed heavily, reaching 18 victories by the end of the year. He was commissioned Leutnant in April 1918. On the 29th of May, Baumer was injured in a crash, breaking his jaw and he returned to the Jasta in September.
With the arrival of the new Fokker D.VII he claimed even more success, including 16 victories in September. Nicknamed Eiserner Adler (Iron Eagle) he flew with a personal emblem of the edelweiss on his aircraft.
He was one of the few pilots in World War One whose lives were saved by parachute deployment, when he was shot down in flames in September 1918. He was awarded the Pour Le Merite, just before the Armistice and was finally credited with 43 kills making him the sixth ranking German Ace.
Baumer died in an Air crash at Copenhagen on the 15th of July 1927, age 31 whilst test flying a new fighter aircraft.
(C) Damian Grange 2019