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Old 1st December 2013, 20:58
kaki3152 kaki3152 is offline
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Identity of German pilot buried on Linosa Island July 6,1943?

In the history of the 31st Fighter Group, "In a Now Forgotten Sky" by Kucera, there is a short paragraph about Lt. Charles Babcock,308th FS:
"In the 308th, Lt. Babcock, who had spent some time marooned on a desert island in the Mediterranean with a badly burned German pilot who died before they could be rescued.". He was reported MIA on July 6,1943.

After contact with Lt. Babcock's son, the following additional information became available.

The family story is that:"Dad told me that the guy crashed when he hit the cliff at the end of the beach (same one Dad landed on), and the plane burned, he pulled him out of the plane and buried him."

His logbook entry when he returned to the 31st FG is the following:
"[D]downed on Linosa missing eight days. Spitfire 5, fighter sweep Sicily

There is still some misinformation about Lt. Babcock in the published literature. In "Spitfires Over Sicily", Lt. Babcock is listed as "KIA', it should RTD -Returned to Duty.].

So, the question is what was the identity of the Luftwaffe pilot.? Presumably a fighter pilot since there was only one, though it could be a recon pilot.

Linosa Island is not quite a desert island though it has today a population of 450 people. Some info from the Web: [T]he real story of the island started on the 25th of April 1845 when King Ferdinando II di Borbone sent to the island 30 settlers who would have 240 hectares each and three Tarì (currency of the time) per day. They had to face many difficulties on living there and the situation didn’t change even during the following century.
Only in 1967 the Italian government started giving attention to the needs of the people on the island, before that there was no telephone or power station and only in 1976 the television arrived. In 1983 the first water desalting was built which helped to supply the island with fresh water avoiding the collection of rainy water. In 1985 the first ferry has docked at the pier on Linosa Island, before that date people and animals could reached the island only thanks to the “barcaccia” a small gozzo boat used as a shuffle between the ferry and the quay. "

Last edited by kaki3152; 3rd December 2013 at 03:53.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 04:14
kaki3152 kaki3152 is offline
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Re: Identity of German pilot buried on Linosa Island July 6,1943?

Ok looking for possible candidates:

On July 6,1943 Uffz . Hermann Witt, 5./JG-53 was KIA when he supposedly rammed a 4 engine bomber. However, it appears that he came down near Augusta, Sicily.

Assuming Lt. Babcock landed on Linosa on July 6 and stayed eight days, that would have a window of July 6 ~ July 13/14,1943. On July 11,1943 3 JG-53 pilots were reported MIA - .Lt. Karl-Heinz Messer,2./JG-53, Uffz. Harry Barsuhn 3./JG-53 and Lt. Siegfried Beer, 2./JG-53. On July 7,1943 Uffz. Heinz Walter 5./JG-77 was reported MIA.

One of these four could possibly be the pilot buried by Lt. Babcock on Linosa Island.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 09:24
Ruediger Kaufmann Ruediger Kaufmann is offline
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Re: Identity of German pilot buried on Linosa Island July 6,1943?

Hello kaki3152,

it looks like a missing German Flugzeugführer.
Here are some Information about the four names in your last post.

Uffz. Harry Barsuhn died at Airfield Comiso at 11.7.1943

The German Volksbund online had no Grave information about:
Karl-Heinz Messer
Siegfried Beer
and
Heinz Walter.

I will ask for further information from the German Volksbund.

Best wishes
Rüdiger
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Old 3rd December 2013, 09:42
Andrew Arthy Andrew Arthy is offline
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Re: Identity of German pilot buried on Linosa Island July 6,1943?

Hi,

Messer survived the war, so it wasn't him.

Cheers,
Andrew A.
Air War Publications - www.airwarpublications.com
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Old 3rd December 2013, 09:55
Matti Salonen Matti Salonen is offline
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Re: Identity of German pilot buried on Linosa Island July 6,1943?

Also Beer survived, but Walter is still MIA.

Matti
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Old 3rd December 2013, 11:55
Ruediger Kaufmann Ruediger Kaufmann is offline
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Re: Identity of German pilot buried on Linosa Island July 6,1943?

Hi all, great answers !

Heinz Walter from 5./JG77 was reported MIA at 7.7.43 about 7 Kilometers northeast of Trapani / Sicilia fighting with B-17´s.
This city/area is about 300 Kilometers north of Linosa Island.

Best wishes
Rüdiger
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Old 3rd December 2013, 13:51
kaki3152 kaki3152 is offline
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Re: Identity of German pilot buried on Linosa Island July 6,1943?

Huuummm, maybe a reconnaissance pilot flying a Bf-109? Thanks to all for their great responses.

Carlos
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Old 3rd December 2013, 15:07
Ruediger Kaufmann Ruediger Kaufmann is offline
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Re: Identity of German pilot buried on Linosa Island July 6,1943?

Hello Carlos,

is it quit clear from the book report or from the interview with the son of the US-Fighter pilot that it was a Bf109 ?

Best wishes
Rüdiger
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Old 4th December 2013, 00:42
kaki3152 kaki3152 is offline
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Re: Identity of German pilot buried on Linosa Island July 6,1943?

Rüdiger,

There is no indication that it was a BF-109 from the information the son gathered. Charles Babcock Sr. has been dead for a number of years, so this is second hand information gathered through his surviving relatives.

It could be a Fw-190 or a Fi-156 or anything that is a single pilot type aircraft. I assumed a BF-109 because of the large number of sorties flown by JG-53 and JG-77 in the region around this time frame. The field is open.
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Old 7th December 2013, 03:15
kaki3152 kaki3152 is offline
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Re: Identity of German pilot buried on Linosa Island July 6,1943?

My last two candidates, one falls outside of the time line I hypothesized.

Fw. Thomas Thalmaier, 5./JG-51,vermisst s. Sardinien 9.7.43

Uffz. Theo Heckmann, 7./JG-27, vermisst unbekannte Ursache 15.7.43
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