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An inoffensive chap really...

You'd never think to look at him (Neal O'Connor's "Aviation Awards" volume VI) that he'd been sentenced to death for the novel "crime" of Military Sacrilege...

in the FIRST War...

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Yet such was the verdict of the Tsarist military tribunal, for the blasphemous crime of bombing Holy Mother Russia from the air. Satanic!

Shot down over Riga, Latvia...

"mercifully" commuted to a lifetime of penal servitude in Siberia...

he escaped from the train in central Russia, crossed Mongolia and China on foot...

got himself to enemy Japan, where he passed himself as Somebody Else...

hitched a ride through the neutral United States...

was passed on to neutral Norway...

and after a mere 6 months, had circumnavigated the entire globe alone, departing from the EASTERN end of the Baltic and arriving back at the WESTERN end, all without money, food, or papers

a Guiness Book world record for P.O.W. escapes that will never be equaled!

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So it was no wonder, perhaps, that he was assigned as Commandant of DULAG Oberursel from the summer of 1941 to war's end.

Every single captured Allied flyer was processed through...

"Shame about Smetherington last month! And I expect Rose down at The Green Dragon will be upset when you don't pick her up for the picture show on Tuesday...." :ninja::rolleyes:

Oh, the Abwehr had its uses. And the SD got results--from the ones who lived. But Luftwaffe intelligence under this charming fellow was par excellence. He was the Magician of Match-books. The Wizard of Theater Tickets. The genial Inquisitor In Chief....

Meet Oberstleutnant der Reserve Erich Killinger (1893-1977) :cheers:

Dwight Messimer was working on a biography of Killinger 3 years ago, but I haven't seen it in print yet. This is the only known photo of Killinger during his DULAG days and was to have been the cover art.

He was quite a character-- a flyer's flyer, a gentleman, and a true hero by any standard used. He was, also, ironically enough jailed by BOTH the Gestapo and British intelligence for the exact same addiional "crime"-- "coddling terror bombers"/"war crimes."

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And HOW does a completely anonymous, uninscribed snapshot of an overaged Luftwaffe officer found on eBay come to be identified?

Aside from those ears, of course? :rolleyes:

:unsure:

Why, from his ribbons, of course! :catjava:

Because not ALL the Wizards Of Arcane Trivia Extraction & Interpretation are below ground... yet! :rolleyes:

Notice the 1918 NAVAL Wound Badge just getting Off Camera beside his 1914 EK1? :rolleyes:

ribbon bar =

1) Iron Cross 2nd Class 1914 and 1939 Spange

2) Prussian Hohenzollern House Order 3 X. Gazetted 3.5.18

3) Baden Military Karl-Friedrich Order-Knight. Of 288 awarded 1914-18, only 3 went to naval officers (the others were commerce raiding Postcard Celebrities). Awarded 25.1.18

4) Baden Order of the Z?hringen Lion-Knight 2nd Class X awarded 27.3.16 after his return home

5) Oldenburg Friedrich August Cross 2nd Class

6) Hamburg Hanseatic Cross

7) L?beck Hanseatic Cross, awarded 6.6.17

8) An Austro-Hungarian Bravery Medal (F?hnrich zur See during his "travels" and only commissioned on return)

9) Hindenburg Cross for Combatants

10) Ottoman War Medal Star

A unique combination to a unique man. And all from one plain "blank" snapshot.... :ninja:

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  • 1 year later...

cheeky.gif Amazing how commercially unlucrative it is, too! catjava.gif

Great story! I always wondered if I was crazy tring to identify people in photos by by certain facial features. Story: I bought 2 photographs on 14 May 1990 from The Old Timer antiques. This was run by a guy that had permission to go through the garbage at the local collection site. The photos were: One pre-WW2 Infantry Lt. (since ID'd); One WW1 Signal Corp Reserve Captain 5” x 7”. last year I picked up a name three complete uniform group with photo and some medals, insignia and badges. I had forgotten about the Captain's photo. I remembered about about the photo and also found out the man had been a Signal Corp Reserve Captain, and Air service Major in WW1. I id'd the photo on 12 Oct 2009- as the Captain/Major). I found out that one of his relatives lived in Ferndale, CA in the 1990's, so some one probably cleaned an atic and inadvently threw out the photo, or pitched it. Then last year his grandson sold the uniforms. Really interesting how things happen.

George

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"mercifully" commuted to a lifetime of penal servitude in Siberia...

he escaped from the train in central Russia, crossed Mongolia and China on foot...

got himself to enemy Japan, where he passed himself as Somebody Else...

hitched a ride through the neutral United States...

was passed on to neutral Norway...

and after a mere 6 months, had circumnavigated the entire globe alone, departing from the EASTERN end of the Baltic and arriving back at the WESTERN end, all without money, food, or papers

That is what I would call a great escape !

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You can't tell from this post but I'm actually in complete awe:o

I salute you Rick, an absolutely fascinating story of an exceptional character brought back to life by your "genius". Thank you for sharing this! A book of such obscure but incredibly interesting characters would probably make the best seller list! Food for thought?

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