Fighter Pilot and Hereditary Estate Farmer
Friedrich and Emma’s eleventh child, Hermann was the first one to be born in the recently acquired house on 30 August 1892. In 1903 the eleven-year-old boy moved with his mother Emma and his six younger siblings to the farmstead at the village of Elsenau near Schönsee (now Polish: Kowalewo Pomorski) in West Prussia. Hermann completed an agricultural apprenticeship in that area and found before 1916 an administrative post of the Prussian state property Wtelno near Gogolinke, county of Bromberg (now Polish: Witelno near Gogolinek, about 20 km northwest of Bydgoszcz). The agricultural area of the domain was 385 ha.
In 1916 Hermann became a soldier and participated in World War I. He enlisted at the newly established air force unit just as his brother Ferdinand, who had served from 1915 on at the airstrip Großenhain. In August 1917, according to an army postcard, he became a fighter pilot trained at the “Flieger-Ersatz-Abteilung I”.
From March 21 to November 10, 1918, the day of the unit’s closure, Hermann Klopp belonged as a lieutenant and fighter pilot to the Airforce Unit I, which was headed by Manfred von Richthofen (1892 – 1918). Hermann was on active duty when his leader was fatally shot down on 21 April 1918 between Bray and Corbie (France).
Since the end of March 1918 the headquarters of the famous unit JG I was moved forward to the airport Léchelle as part of the German March offensive. After Richthofen’s death, First Lieutenant Reinhard became Herman’s new leader. On 6 July 1918 Captain Hermann Göring (1893 – 1946) was installed as the last commanding officer of the Imperial Airforce.
Under Göring’s leadership, the distinguished and audacious unit suffered heavy losses in the summer and fall of 1918. During the course of these air battles, during which Lieutenant Hermann Klopp flew the fighter plane Fokker D VII, his flying machine was shot down in the vicinity of Léchelle/Cappy. Seriously wounded he was transported to the nearest field hospital. It was found that he received a non-operable lung shot, from which he suffered for the rest of his life.
To be continued …