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British Airmen - Hooge Crater Cemetery

Ypres Salient, Battlefields Belgium, WW1, Flanders
Authors image. Hooge Crater Cemetery

Grave XXI.J.10 Lieutenant John Yates Taylor. 4 Battalion East Lancashire Regiment attached 4 Squadron RFC. Age 21. KIA 6.7.17. Son of John William and Jane Taylor, 37 Regent Street, Blackburn. On an artillery observation patrol. His observer Lt George Mutch was also killed and is buried in Railway Dugouts (Transport Farm) Cemetery. They were flying in an RE8 when they were in combat with five enemy aircraft. Shot down in flames and crashed near Zillebeke. Claimed by Leutnant Kurt Wolff of Jasta 11.

Hooge Crater Cemetery was begun by the 7th Division Burial Officer early in October 1917. It contained originally 76 graves, in Rows A to D of Plot I, but was greatly increased after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields of Zillebeke, Zantvoorde and Gheluvelt Read more about Hooge Crater Cemetery here

Leutnant Kurt Wilhelm Wolff - was born in Greifswald, Pomerania. He was orphaned as a child and was raised by relatives in Memel, East Prussia. Wolff enlisted in the Bavarian Army in 1912 at the age of 17, joining a transport unit, Railway Regiment Nr. 4. He was still with this regiment when World War I began. He received a commission on 17 April 1915, and he transferred to the Fliegertruppen (Flying Troops) in July.

Kurt Wilhelm Wolff, Ypres Salient, battlefields Belgium, WW1, Flanders
Kurt Wilhelm Wolff

He was one of Imperial Germany's highest-scoring fighter aces during World War I. The frail youthful orphan originally piloted bombers before being picked by Manfred von Richthofen to join Jagdstaffel 11 (Fighter Squadron 11) in the burgeoning Imperial German Air Service. Under the tutelage of Richthofen, Wolff would shoot down 33 enemy aircraft in four months, including 22 victims during the Royal Flying Corps' disastrous Bloody April 1917. Wolff scored victories so rapidly he outran the Prussian awards system; although the Pour le Merite was customarily awarded after a fighter ace's 20th victory, Wolff's was not received until after his 29th.

On 6 May 1917, after this 29th victory, Wolff was transferred to command Jagdstaffel 29 and score two victories. When Richthofen moved up from Jagdstaffel 11 to become the wing commander of the Flying Circus, his replacement as Jagdstaffel 11 commander was killed. Wolff was transferred to command his old squadron; he scored his 32nd and 33rd victories with them. On 11 July, he was wounded and grounded after a crash landing. On 12 September 1917, the day after he returned to duty, he was promoted to Oberleutnant. Three days later, Wolff made his final patrol, leading a patrol of five in a prototype Fokker Triplane. In a chaotic dogfight with Sopwith Camels from No. 10 Naval Squadron, Wolff nearly collided with his assailant, Norman MacGregor. As Wolff fell out of sight, MacGregor claimed an "out of control" victory. Wolff was probably dead before the triplane's explosive impact.

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