Oberleutnant Frank Linke – Crawford – Austro-Hungarian Ace 1893 / 1918
He was born on Cracow, which is now in Poland, but was at that time a provincial city of the Austro – Hungarian Empire. His Father was Major Adelbert Linke, a Galacian soldier, his Mother, Lucy Crawford was British. Despite his mixed background, he became an Austrian citizen. Linke-Crawford attended school in Meran, Tyrol and Hrnice, Moravia, In 1910 he entered the Theresian Military Academy in Weiner Neustadt. Upon graduation he was commisioned as Leutnant and assigned to the 6th Dragoon Regiment. On July the 28th 1914, a month after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Austro – Hungary declared war on Serbia. This was the initial declaration of war that snowballed in to World War One.
Linke – Crawford first saw battle on the Russian Front. In November 1914, he was appointed Commander of the Infantry troop of the Sixth Dragoons. Between October 1914 and October 1915, He received several decorations, he was also hospitalised several times with malaria and dysentery. In 1915, Linke – Crawford’s fascination with the Luftfahrtruppen( Austrian Air Service ) led him to request a transfer for pilot training. His poor health was also mentioned as a reason for his transfer.
Upon completion of his observer training at Wiener – Neustadt in March 1916. Linke – Crawford was posted to Fliegerkompagnie 22 to fly reconnaissance and bombing missions in two seater airplanes. In September 1916 after serving six months on active service as an observer, he retrained as a pilot. In January 1917, he was transferred to Fliegerkompagnie 12 as chief pilot, which made him second in command of the unit. His posting meant that he was still serving on the Isonzo Front in Northern Italy. Whist his duties remained recon and bombing, he was now flying over mountainous terrain.
To Be Continued……………………..
(C) Damian Grange 2019