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German Airman - Sanctuary Wood Cemetery

The only German Airman buried at Sanctuary Wood.

Sanctuary Wood Cemetery. Ypres Salient. Battlefields Belgium. Flanders
Authors image. Sanctuary Wood Cemetery

Special Memorial Hauptmann Hans Roser. Observer. Feldflieger Abteilung 3. KIA 25.7.15. He was flying in an Albatros C-type. He was a victim of Captain Lanoe Hawker of 6 Squadron RFC, who, because of his actions that day, became the first man to receive a V.C. for air combat. This combat was also the subject of the first communique issued by the Royal Flying Corps it read: ‘On the 26th July, Capt Hawker in a Bristol Scout attacked two hostile machines; one at Passchendaele at 6pm and one over Houthulst Forest at 6.20pm. Both machines dived to escape. Capt Hawker then climbed to 11,000 feet and at 7pm saw a hostile machine being fired at by anti-aircraft fire at about 10,000 feet over Hooge. Approaching down-sun Capt Hawker opened fire at about 100 yards range. The hostile machine burst into flames and turned upside down, the observer falling out. The machine and pilot crashed to earth south-east of Zillebeke in our lines.’ The 1/5th Sherwood Foresters recorded the incident in their War Diary.

Sherwood Foresters. Sanctuary Wood Cemetery. Ypres Salient. Battlefields Belgium. Flanders
Sanctuary wood Cemetery. War Diary 5 Battalion, Sherwood Foresters

Sanctuary Wood Cemetery. Captain Lanoe Hawker. Ypres Salient. Battlefields Belgium. Flanders
Captain Lanoe Hawker 6 Squadron RFC

Afterwards, the body of Hans Roser was found, he had fallen in front of the British lines, and maps showing a number of German artillery positions were recovered. Hawker wrote of the action: ‘... I had come on him from behind unawares – and he burst into flames and crashed into our lines. I felt sorry for him when he fell in flames, but war is war and they have been very troublesome of late.’ He visited the site of the crash and recovered the Iron Cross of the pilot, Oberleutnant Alfred Ubelacker from the wreckage, it had cracked from the heat of the fire. His charred remains were recovered from the aircraft. The Sherwood Foresters received a letter of thanks from Hans Roser’s wife, they had buried his body in Sanctuary Wood and returned his flight badge to her.

War Diary. Sherwood Foresters. Sanctuary Wood Cemetery. Ypres Salient. Battlefields Belgium. Flanders
War Diary. Sherwood Foresters.

Hawker was shot down and killed by the Red Baron, Manfred von Richtofen, on 23 November 1916 near Luisenhof Farm on the Somme. His body was lost and his name is listed on the RFC and RAF Memorial to the Missing in Arras.

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