Oberleutnant Frank Linke – Crawford – Austro – Hungarian Ace 1893 / 1918 Pt.2
He also flew some sorties in single – seat fighters. On one of these missions on the 13th of April 1917, he shot down a Nieuport that cartwheeled into a crash far behind the Italian lines. He did not bother to attempt to claim this victory, though he mentioned it in a letter to his sister. On the 25th of May, his aircraft was badly shot up taking 14 shots from a couple of SPAD fighters. He had another unconfirmed victory on the 25th of June.
He rapidly gained a reputation for courage. On one of his long range reconnaissance missions, he was attacked by a Italian SPAD, which riddled his Hansa- Brandenburg C.1 with 68 bullet holes over a 30minute period. Nevertheless Linke – Crawford completed his mission. On the 2nd of August 1917, whilst flying his Aviatik C.1 with no rear gunner on board to man the aircrafts single machine gun. He was shot down by Italian Ace Pier Piccio, to become his eighth victim. but was uninjured.
On the 4th of August 1917, He transferred to Fliegerkompanie 41, situated near Trieste. Flik 41 was Austro – Hungary’s most renowned air unit. It was commanded by Godwin von Brumowski. Linke – Crawford damaged his aircraft when landing at his new base, Sesana Airfield. Around this time he began wearing scarlet flying helmet and white trousers when he flew, leading to his nickname of “Redhead” He marked his plane with stylised falcons on both sides of the fuselage. He scored his first conformed victory on the 21st of August 1917, using a Hansa – Brandenburg D.1 to shoot down a Nieuport. In the next five days he had three more confirmed victories while flying this plane, plus one more unconfirmed.
To Be Continued ……………………..
(C) Damian Grange 2019