Compass from Fokker Dr I : Baron Manfred von Richthofen, Geschwader 1, German Air Service

Unit German Air Force
Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Corbie Albert Area, Corbie
Accession Number RELAWM00706
Collection type Technology
Object type Aircraft
Physical description Brass, Glass, Liquid, Metal
Location Anzac Hall: Over the Front: Baron von Richtofen
Maker Carl Bamberg
Place made Germany, Germany: Berlin
Date made c 1917
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

A Carl Bamberg manufactured compass removed from Rittmeister Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen's Fokker Dr1 triplane on 21 April 1918 immediately after he was shot down. The compass is pivot mounted within a self-levelling circular metal frame and is still filled with liquid. The rounded base of the compass is dented, revealing brass under the black paint. The compass face is delineated in intervals of 15 degrees, while the cardinal points are labelled in different colours - red for north, green for east, blue for south and yellow for west. The manufacturer's details and a serial number are marked on both the face and around the upper outer mounting.

History / Summary

This compass was recovered from von Richthofen's Fokker Dr 1 by 3252 Sergeant (Sgt) Harold Joseph Tesch, the Regimental Sergeant Major of 41 Battalion, AIF. Correspondence received by Major Treloar of the Australian War Records Section (AWRS) from Tesch's commanding officer, Lieutenant F.W. MacGibbin, MC, on 30 May 1918 states: 'Captain Pickering our adjutant is taking over a souvenir belonging to this battalion, which I am anxious reaches its destination. The souvenir is the compass belonging to Richthofen's machine, and I was afraid to send it in, in case Army or somebody else grabbed it.' Treloar acknowledged the receipt of the compass in June 1918, forwarding a receipt for the attention of Sgt Tesch. A listing immediately after this correspondence confirms the compass as being only one of four Richthofen souvenirs then held by the AWRS.