In 1808, the town was occupied by French troops and the merchant's
church was abolished in the same year on the basis of a Napoleonic decree. The guild was dissolved, its property confiscated and the
merchants were expelled from the town. However, many valuables
and documents were hidden and saved. In 1814 the French were defeated and British citizens began to return to Hamburg. Perhaps it
was at this time that Walter Monnington settled in Hamburg, he was
23 years old at the time.
From the beginning of February 1918 Jasta 15 together with Jasta 12,
13 and 19 was part of the newly founded Jagdgeschwader II whose
commander was Hptm. Adolf Ritter von Tutschek (27 v., Pour le Mérite). However Geschwader Kommandeur fell on March 15th, in a battle
with South African Lt Harold B. Redler (10 v.) flying with SE 5 of No. 24
Squadron RFC. His successor was the legendary Hptm. Rudolf Berthold.2) The appointment of this energetic commander had an unexpected impact on Jasta 15. Berthold decided to establish Jasta 15 as
the Stab Staffel of his Geschwader and had several airmen from his
former unit, Jasta 18, transferred to it. Eventually, for logistical reasons, he decided to completely swap personnel and aircraft between
Jasta 15 and 18. The new Jasta 15 retained the Albatros, Pfalz and
Fokker Dr. I fighters and Berthold's pilots had their planes painted
with red and blue markings.
Thus Lt. d. R. Raben became from one day to the other the commander of Jasta 18 with the base in Bruille in the sector of the 17. Army.
Together with him, seven airmen moved to the new location. Kurt
Monnington, stayed with Jasta 15, serving briefly as an adjutant or
Offizier zur besonderen Verwendung. He joined Jasta 18 a little later.
Photo: A. E. Ferko via Greg VanWyngarden
Brothers go to war
As the preceding text shows, although the Monningtons had lived in
Hamburg for several generations in the 19th century, they still had
a strong connection to the land of their ancestors. This was evident
in the names the parents chose for their children. However, some of
Kurt's siblings already had German names: Emma Elisabeth (1890),
Jane Margarethe (1892), Carl Otto (1896), Johanna Clementine (1897),
Dorothea Ruth (1899) and Gertrud Else (1900).
When the World War broke out, his younger brother Carl (Karl) Otto
enlisted as an engineer in the Reserve-Pionier-Kompagnie Nr. 46
and was severely wounded in April 1915. However, he survived the
war and married in 1926.
Kurt was assigned as a non-commissioned officer to the Royal
Württemberg Regiment No. 119 "Königin Olga". However, he was soon
transferred to the Württemberg Infantry Regiment No. 120, where
he was promoted to the rank of Leutnant der Reserve in November
1914.1) Monnington was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class for gallantry
in action in June 1915, and in November of that year he was awarded
the Württemberg Friedrich Order Knight Second Class with Swords.
At the end of February 1916, Kurt Monnington started his flight training
at FEA 4 in Posen (today Poznań in Poland) and in June of the same
year he was awarded the Hamburg Hanseatic Cross. In September
1916 he was assigned to a combat unit for the first time - KEST 1 in
Mannheim. In November he was even sent to the fighter Jasta 12, but
at the end of January 1917 he was transferred to FA(A) 281 with two-seater machines. With this unit he finally earned his pilot's badge.
In August 1917 he again reported to a fighter unit, this time Jasta 22
and in early October he was transferred to Jasta 15. The commander of the unit was twentyoneyearold Lt. Heinrich Gontermann, who
achieved 39 victories until his death and was awarded the Pour le
Mérite in May 1917. He was killed on October 30th, 1917 during a familiarization flight in a Fokker Dr. I. After his death, the unit was led
by Lt. Hans von Budde and in mid-March 1918 it was taken over by
Lt. d. R. August Raben.
A group of Jasta 18 pilots at Montingen airfield in June 1918. From left: Vzfw. Glatz (1 v.), Gefr. Deberitz (1 v.), Lt. d. R. Kurt Monnington (8 v.), Lt. d. R. Spindler (2 v.), unit commander Lt. d.
R. August Raben (4 v.), Lt. Kurt Baier (1 v.), Lt. Hans Müller (12 v.), Lt. Günther von Büren (2 v.), Lt. Bergner and Offz. Stv. Richard Schleichardt (3 v.).
INFO Eduard - June 2021