Oberleutnant Ernst Udet – German Ace 1896 / 1941
Ernst Udet was born on the 26th of April 1896 in Frankfurt un Main in Germany. Udet grew up in Munich, where he was known from early childhood for his sunny temperament and his fascination with aviation. In his youth he hung out at a nearby airplane factory and an army airship detachment. In 1909 he helped found the Munich Aero Club. After crashing a glider he and a friend constructed, he finally flew in 1913, with a test pilot in the nearby Otto Works which he often visited.
Shortly after the beginning of World War One, Udet attempted to enlist in the Imperial German Army, but was rejected being only 5.3ins tall. Later that month when the Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil – Club appealed for volunteers with motorcycles. Udet applied and was accepted. Udet’s Father had given him a motorcycle when he had passed his first year examination, and along with four friends, Udet was posted to the 26th Wurttembirgishen Reserve Division as a messenger rider. After injuring his shoulder when his motorcycle hit a bomb crater from an artillery shell explosion. He was sent to a Military Hospital and his motorcycle was sent for repair. After being discharged from the Hospital, Udet failed to locate the 26th Division, so he opted to serve at the vehicle depot in Namur.
During this period, he met Officers from the Chauny flying sector, who advised him to transfer as an aerial observer. However, before he received his orders, the army dispensed with volunteer motorcyclists, and Udet was sent back to the recruiting officials. Udet tried to return to the fighting, but he was unable to get accepted for either the pilot or the air mechanic training that the army offered.
To Be Continued…………………….
(C) Damian Grange 2019