A First War Bavarian Pilot Badge & Sash to Vfw. Paul Hoppe
Pilot’s Badge, silver, mounted at the centre of a handmade brass cross patée, 149 x 146mm., the arms of which are inscribed, ‘Vfw. Paul Hoppe Mit Gott Für Koenig und Vaterland 6 April 1917’, reverse with wire mount, to which is attached two silk sashes each approximately 90cm. long, white with red and black edging and gilt fringe, decorated with multiple iron crosses and inscribed in gothic script, ‘letzter gruß’(last greeting) and ‘dem tapferen helden’ (the brave heroes) good very fine. Sergeant-Major Paul Hoppe, born in Brunswick in 1895 was a Pilot with Fokkerstaffel and Jasta 5; Hoppe is credited with 3 Victories:29 July 1916 - a Farman from Escadrille F2 (crew were A. Divry & H. Santrot); see Sharks among Minnows, by N. Franks, page 124 “Hoppe’s First Victory”.11 March 1917 - a DH2 at Bapaume. 6 x D.H.2’s of 32 Sqd. Crashed/wrecked/forced landed with injured, wounded shot up crew’s after combat with Enemy Airicraft.25 March 1917 - West of Beugny 5 x Sopwith Strutters of 70 Sqd. Combat with 9 E.A., the whole flight of 'Strutters' shot down.Hoppe had served from October 1916 until on 6 April 1917 when in an aerial fight on that day with a FE2d over Noyelles his Commanding Officer – Staffelführer Oblt. Hans Burr, (Pour le Merite winner Ace with 10 Victories) collided with Hoppe's Albatros DIII while both were attacking a FE2b, both being killed in the crash. In this action for the British R.F.C. the whole flight - five FE2d’s (one had returned with engine trouble pre the action) of No. 57 Squadron were shot down.With copied research including: Casualty Reports of No. 32 Squadron (11 March 1917); Casualty Reports of No. 70 Squadron (25 March 1917) - see Under the Guns of the Kaiser’s Aces, page 102 for a write up of the action and Bloody April….Black September, page 22; Casualty Reports of No. 57 Squadron; three P.O.W. Reports of returning crew after W.W.1., Burrill’s noting ‘…attacked by more machines, possibly more than 10, during the fight 2 enemy machines collided & went down in flames’.It is believed the silk drapes (above) would have been used on the coffin at Hoppe’s funeral.