Karl Meyer (aviator)

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Karl Meyer
Born (1894-01-29)January 29, 1894
Mulhouse, Alsace-Lorraine, German Empire
Died December 31, 1917(1917-12-31) (aged 23)
Leipzig, Germany
Allegiance  German Empire
Service/branch German Empire Marinefliegerkorps
Rank Oberflugmeister
Unit SAS 1, MFJ 1
Awards Iron Cross

Oberflugmeister Karl Meyer was a World War I flying ace credited with eight aerial victories. He was Germany's first naval ace, and one of the few German two-seater aces.


Karl Meyer was born on 29 January 1894 in Mulhouse, Alsace-Lorraine, then part of the German Empire. During his World War I flying service, he was attached to the Marinefliegerkorps (German Naval Air Service). His unit, See-Flug Station 1 was stationed at Zeebrugge. Its duties consisted of using seaplanes for a mixed bag of reconnaissance sorties, bombing raids on England, and aerial combat overwater.[1]

Meyer flew Friedrichshafen FF.33 number 599 with Leutnant zur See Erich Bönisch as his aerial observer. On 17 July 1916, they shot down a French FBA flying boat. They followed that with a twin engine Caudron destroyed north of Ostende, Belgium on 2 August. Three days later, having switched mounts to Brandenburg LW number 571, they were credited with another French FBA over Middelkerke. On 7 September 1916, they drove down a Caudron, but the victory claim was not confirmed.[1]

Having switched observers to Karl Elsasser, Meyer claimed two victories on 1 October 1916, one of which was confirmed. Meyer and Elsasser then used Friedrichshafen FF.33 number 880 to down a FBA off Zeebrugge for his fifth confirmed victory. Karl Meyer became the German Naval Air Service's first flying ace, and one of the few German two-seater aces.[1]

On 1 February 1917, using Rumpler D.I number 788, Meyer drove Sopwith Pup number N6161 down into captivity at Bredene; the captured machine was subsequently given German markings.[1]

On 21 April 1917, Meyer and his observer, Oberflugmeister Kastner, were credited with bringing down Airship C.17 east of North Foreland, England. Meyer then transferred to a naval fighter unit, Marine Feld Jager 1. On 22 June, while with them, he shot down an Airco DH.4 from No. 57 Squadron RFC southwest of Dixmude at 2145 hours.[1]

Karl Meyer returned to Sea-Flug Station 1, but scored no more. He died on 31 December 1917. One account states he died of injuries from an aviation accident;[1] another says he was wounded in action on 28 December and expired from his wounds on the 31st. He had been honored with the Iron Cross.[2]

Sources of information[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Franks et al 1993, p. 167.
  2. ^ The Aerodrome website's page on Meyer