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Tracing the Great War service of a German officer


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I am new to this Forum and this is my first post. I am looking for help in tracing whether a German officer served in the Great War. He is listed in the May 1898 Army List as Hauptmann (Captain) in the 3rd Garde Regiment zu Fuss. He was the second son of a Countess and lived in Braunsberg, East Prussia.

His name is Alexander von Stosch.

He served in the Boer War on the British side in Kitchener's Horse. He was 26 during the Boer War so 40 years old in 1914.

I am wondering if he served in the Great War? Can anyone suggest how I pursue this enquiry please?

Many thanks

David

Edited by David Biggins
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David,

the 3. GRzF v. Stosch in 1898 was one Hauptmann Ulrich v. Stosch, born 10.12.1858 in Posen and died on 15.2.1928 and so presumably not your v. Stosch? He retired from Prussian service on 20.7.1898. He served with Landsturm Infanterie-Ersatz-Bataillon Wiesbaden and the Etappenkommandantur 219 (Rear Area Command) on recall during WW1. Promoted to charakterisierter (brevet) Major. a.D. on 21 July 1915.

A check of the relevant Gotha shows that Alexander Wilhelm Leopold v. Stosch was a Leutnant der Reserve au?er Dienst (retired) in 1913. He was born on 23 February 1874 at Schwerin. Alexander v. Stosch had been originally commissioned into the 2. GRzF on 18.8.95 and transfered to Garde-Grenadier-Regiment Nr. 5 on 1.4.97. He left the Army on 18.8.97, returning to service as a reserve officer in Ulanen-Regiment Nr. 12 on 12.9.02. He retired from reserve service on 18.5.05 with a view to emigrating. I then find him on promotion to Oberleutnant der Reserve a.D. on 26 November 1915 on the staff of the commander of motorized troops of 11th Army.

Regards

Glenn

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Alexander von Stosch was drowned in the River Maas after missing the turn onto a bridge at night in Namur on 27 February 1918 while Vorstand of Kraftfahrstelle Namur, uniform of an Oberleutnant in 5. GRzF. His obituary in the Heldengedenkmappe states he was a participant of the war in Boer War and subsequently served in the Argentine army before returning to Germany through the blockade in 1915 by using false papers:

What a DUMB way to have died, after such an adventurous life!

Obituary above is from:

Alexis von Schoenermarck's 1921 "Helden-Gedenkmappe des deutschen Adels," published in Stuttgart by Verlag Wilhelm Petri. It is a phenomenal source for detailed personal and genealogical data on German noblemen (and noblewomen) who died as a result of the Great War.

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Alexander von Stosch was killed in a fatal accident near Namur on 27 February 1918 while Vorstand of Kraftfahrstelle Namur, uniform of an Oberleutnant in 5. GRzF. His obituary in the Heldengedenkmappe states he was a participant of the war in Boer War and subsequently served in the Argentine army before returning to Germany through the blockade in 1915 by using false papers.

I'll copy the entry here

Rick,

just looked into the Heldengedenkmappe. Seems they got his prewar unit wrong as he never served in 5. GRzF but in GGR 5.

Regards

Glenn

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Yeah-- the pocket Gotha just calls him Oberlt dR aD with no affiliation. Slid through the reporting cracks as a retired emigr? bachelor, I guess.

His mother was just a von, not a Baroness.

I do not find him on any of the award rolls that have been transcribed, though presumably he'd picked up an ?M3K from Austria-Hungary during his Balkans service.

So, David-- what have you got? His QSA?

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Rick / Glenn,

This is amazing information. Thank you so much for taking the trouble to look him up for me.

All that I have is his QSA. It is very unusual in that the normal suspended and bars have been removed. A loop suspended has been added so that he could waer this medal in the normal German style.

The medal was accompanied by the except from the 1898 Army List as well as his attestation and discharge certificate from Kitchener's Horse, with whom he had served for just over a year in 1901.

It really is a very unusual QSA and this is the main area of interest for my brother and I.

Can I take it that he would not have gained any further medal entitlement for the Great War? The combination with the Commander of the Order of Franz Joseph is in itself very unusual.

Many thanks again for all your help

With best wishes

David

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Ed,

The QSA is impressed as I would expect it to be. It is named to 9705 Cpl A Von Stosch, Kitchener's Horse. His medal was sent to him in 1907 via the British Embassy, Berlin. The QSA has no clasps but he is entitled to the clasps 'Cape Colony', 'Orange Free State', 'Transvaal' and 'South Africa 1901'.

Here's a partly blurred picture of the rim of the QSA.

Regards

David

Edited by David Biggins
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Lovely!! :love:

Thanks (and I know how hard it is to scan the rims).

A shame the clasps are gone, but you wonder if he tinkered them for German-style wearing during the seven years he was allowed to wear the medal?

Edited by Ed_Haynes
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Or to whatever style prevailed in Argentina, where he was an officer from circa 1905 to 1914?***

Before WW1 the only medal he had (that's the wrong von Stosch/wrong regiment in your Rank List scan--that's the ULRICH Glenn described above) was the Kaiser Wilhelm I Centenary Medal, earned for being on active duty on 22 March 1897.

I'm sure he got the "usual" Iron Crosses 2nd and 1st Class during the Great War, and as a General Headquarters staff type, I'm fairly sure he would have gotten the Austro-Hungarian Military Merit Cross 3rd Class with War Decoration, since he was on von Mackensen's staff. Quite possibly something from Bulgaria as well, or even Turkey. But he turns up on none of the published German award rolls or the unpublished ones we've been transcribing for publication.

Where did the medal turn up?

*** But then again, since he got himself smuggled back into Holland with forged papers in 1915, he may well have dismounted it to HIDE it "somewheres about his person." :speechless1::unsure::rolleyes:

Oh, if these things we collect could only speak!

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I don't have an 1897 Rank List, but here's your Alexander, down the bottom of Guard Grenadier Regiment 5 as "left the service voluntarily" (Absch. eid bew. illigt)

in the following year's annual edition, 1898.

The only reason his first name is even included on a wretched Prussian Rank List at all is because his cousin Albrecht was serving in the same regiment and held the same rank. Albrecht, being now the ONLY von Stosch in the regiment, has lost his first name-- that's him with the Austro-Hungarian Gold Merit Cross at upper right. They'd have both shown first names in the 1897 edition to tell one from the other, seniority-wise. Your Alexander had no "visible" awards. Commemoratives, jubilees, and an arbitrary assortment of German and foreign awards were simply never SHOWN in Prussian Rank Lists, which also display awards in random ways that had nothing to do with wearing precedence.

This is why all German military researchers become very odd indeed. :rolleyes:

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And here he is in the 6th of May 1905 Rank List:

No first name. No awards that a Rank List displayed--

and were it not for Glenn's information, NOTHING to indicate that this reserve cavalry officer had anything to do with the "vanished" regular Guards grenadier officer. :rolleyes:

But note where he lived:

Name, hometown, age, obituary... all confirm his identity. Talk about "attribution." :catjava:

Merry Christmas, early this year. :cheers:

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Garde-Grenadier-Regiment Nr. 5 was only formed on 31 March 1897 and the 1897 Rangliste is the only edition that shows Alexander v. Stosch as an active officer in that regiment. His transfer to GGR. 5 from 2. GRzF had been gazetted on 22 March 1897 to take effect on 1 April 1897. The Albrecht v. Stosch who Rick mentioned can also be seen with his first name in the 1897 list. He was a former Kaiser Franz Garde-Grenadier-Regiment Nr. 2 officer transfered into GGR. 5 on the same day.

Regards

Glenn

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Glenn,

Having only worked with Boer War records and information in the past, I find the German information almost impenetrable. A chap called Neil very kindly translated his biography for me. It reads:

He previously took part in the Boer War campaign and was later in the Argentine service. As a true German patriot, inspired to be of service to his beloved Fatherland, he requested his immediate resignation from the Argentine army. After overcoming unending difficulties he eventually reached the Dutch coast on 27/6/1915 under false papers. In August he served on the staff of Commander of the motorized troops of 11th Army and took part with the army of von Mackensen in the whole of the Serbian campaign. On an official journey during the night by motor vehicle he met with an accident and plunged down a slope before the Maas bridge in Namur. Thus he was flung in the river and met his death.

Do you know of many German officers who served in the Argentinian Army before the Great War?

Many, many thanks

David

Edited by David Biggins
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There were a number of German officers in Argentina pre-1914 (and after). There's been an article on some of them. The Germans sold the Argentines a LOT of weapons (think Argentine Mausers, bayonets, Krupp artillery etc.) and a German military mission was sent to train the army with the weaponry.

My guess is that you also find an article out there about Germano-Argentine Diplomatic relations during this era as it cries out for some PHD student to have studied.

The Argentine records are still extant and rather complete-IF you can get access.

It might help to have someone local to do the research though.

Edited by Ulsterman
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