Who's Who - Carl Menckhoff

Carl Menckhoff Carl Menckhoff (1883-1948) was a noted German fighter pilot during the First World War, achieving a total of 39 victories during 1917 and 1918.

Born on 14 April 1883 in Herford, Westphalia, Menckhoff entered the army in 1903 aged 20.  With the outbreak of war in August 1914 he served with Germany infantry in the trenches, earning the Iron Class 1st class while the unwilling recipient of numerous wounds.

Having successfully applied for a transfer to the Imperial German Air Service Menckhoff found himself one of its oldest pilots while in his early 30s.  Having served initially as an observer on the Eastern Front he was appointed a flight instructor in 1916.

1917 brought Menckhoff an appointment to Jasta 3 in Ypres and in France, chiefly flying an Albatross DIII.  In the space of a single week in late September 1917 he was twice shot down by Allied aircraft having achieved some 12 'kills' by this time: first by Arthur Rhys Davids on 23 September while Menckhoff was rushing to the aid of the doomed Werner Voss, and again five days later by 56 Squadron.

On 11 February 1918 Menckhoff was placed in command of Jasta 72 with whom he achieved a further 20 victories.

Having been awarded the prestigious Pour le Merite on 23 April 1918 Menckhoff was again shot down on 25 July 1918, this time by an American airman, Walter Avery, in the skies above Chateau Thierry.  Finally captured in this latest encounter Menckhoff nevertheless managed to escape from Camp Montoire in August 1919, travelling to Switzerland where he chose to settle, eventually establishing himself as a successful businessman.

He died in 1948 in Switzerland.

"Coffin Nails" was a term used by British soldiers to describe cigarettes.

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