From Sub-Cloud Car Observer to POW

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Durand
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From Sub-Cloud Car Observer to POW

Post by Durand » 25 Aug 2005 21:53

Hallo,

In his book "Zeppelins of World War I", Wilbur Cross writes about an unusual incident involving an observer riding in a zeppelin's sub-cloud car. In this case, the zeppelin was damaged during a raid over England. The winch mechanism used to raise and lower the sub-cloud car was jammed leaving the observer dangling below. On its homeward journey the aircraft was unable to maintain altitude. Despite jettisoning all expendable equipment, the aircraft continued to sink closer to the earth. Because it weighed nearly a half ton (including cable, winch, and observer), the decision was made to jettison the sub-cloud car. Via the telephone connection, the observer was told that the zeppelin would be maneuvered close enough to the ground to set the car down. As soon as the car touched earth, the observer was to notify the zeppelin above and the cable would be cut. The landing was hard, but the observer was able to get clear and the cable was cut.

The observer found himself somewhere in the English countryside. Holing up at night and skirting villages, the fellow was at large unknown to British authorities. After approximately two months, he was spotted by a civilian patrol and arrested in Sussex. He spent the rest of the war as a POW.

Cross provides no name for the observer, the number of the zeppelin, the dates, or any sources for the story. Can someone please provide any additional information about this matter.

Best Regards,

Durand

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 28 Aug 2005 10:51

Durand,

All I can find is that LZ 90 "lost' its cloud car in September 1916,location near Manningtree.No mention of its occupant though.

Regards,
Peter

Durand
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Location: USA

Post by Durand » 28 Aug 2005 15:23

Hallo Peter,

Thank you for the lead. I will check on the LZ-90 incident.

Best Regarads,

Durand

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 28 Aug 2005 15:45

Ernst Lehmann,who commanded the LZ 90 in 1916,wrote a book after the war on his exploits.

Unfortunately the link here only goes up to Chapter VII,mid 1916.

http://www.ch2bc.org/zepplins/zepplins.htm#CONTENTS

Lehmann died in the Hindenburg crash 1937,a former commander of the airship.

Durand
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Posts: 1215
Joined: 09 Jul 2002 17:02
Location: USA

Post by Durand » 28 Aug 2005 16:35

Peter,

My thanks to you again. Great find. I have only had the chance to skim the first chapter, but it looks to be fascinating. It is one more book that I will have to purchase. It was a sad end for Lehmann in light of surviving the zeppelins during the war. As I understand it, he was not originally scheduled to make the flight on the Hindenburg and only did so at the last minute. It seems that the German ambassador in Washington, DC, received a letter from a woman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, warning that there was a plot to place a bomb among the mail packages that were to be transported on the Hindenburg. Lehmann decided that the letter was a hoax or misguided concern and thought that his presence on the flight would help to alleviate any concerns the authorities and crew may have had. As he was being taken away from the crash site with his clothes still smoldering his words were said to be, "I don't understand it." He died the following day of severe burns.

Once again, my thanks.

Best Regards,

Durand

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