Who's Who - Frank Linke-Crawford

Frank Linke-Crawford Frank Linke-Crawford (1893-1918) was a leading Austro-Hungarian fighter pilot during the First World War, amassing a total of 27 air victories prior to his death in action in July 1918.

Linke-Crawford was born in Cracow (now in Poland) of Polish descent on 18 August 1893, the son of a soldier, Adalbert Linke, (whose wife was an Englishwoman named Lucy Crawford).

Entering the Wiener-Neustad military academy at the age of 13 Linke-Crawford enlisted with the 6th Dragoons regiment where he rose to command an infantry brigade prior to the outbreak of war with Serbia in late July 1914.

In 1915 however Linke-Crawford, fascinated with the nascent Austro-Hungarian air corps, requested a transfer in order that he could train as an airman.  Following his mandatory spell of air training he found himself assigned to Flik 22 in March 1916 and sent on reconnaissance and bombing raids.

January 1917 brought a transfer to Flik 12 and a posting to serve along the mountainous region comprising the Isonzo Front.  Once again he was assigned reconnaissance and bombing duties and was rewarded with the Iron Cross (3rd class).

In August the same year Linke received a transfer to Godwin Brumowski's renowned Flik 41 squadron sited east of Trieste.  Linke-Crawford took to wearing a flame red flying helmet, inevitably drawing the nickname 'Red Head'; he also painted falcons on each side of his aircraft's fuselage.

His first aerial 'kill' was achieved on 21 August; over the course of the following year he amassed a further 26 successes, chiefly flying an Albatross D.III aircraft.

In December 1917 Linke-Crawford was given command of his own squadron, Flik 60, initially based at Grigno and, from March 1918, at Feltre.  His final aerial victory was achieved on 29 July 1918.  Two days later, while flying with three colleagues his aircraft - an Aviatik D.I - was shot down in flames and disintegrated prior to its crash landing.

Aged 24 at his death Linke-Crawford was initially buried at Porbersch; however after the war his body was re-interred in Salzburg in 1919.

A "lazy liz" was a heavy artillery shell fired by the Allied battleship Queen Elizabeth.

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