Leader of His Own Unit
No. 210 Squadron Camels took off on June
6 from Sainte-Marie-Cappel at 1030h, and
the formation was led by Capt. Lawrence Percival Coombes, who later reported:
“At 1155h, our formation was attacked by five
Pfalz aircraft not far from Lestre. I spotted
enemy aircraft hanging on the tail of Lieut.
Buchanan, so I dived down in behind and fired off about fifty rounds from point blank
range. I didn’t see the effect of the rounds,
because I immediately disengaged from the
fight to attack another enemy aircraft, but
Lieut. Buchanan reported seeing the aircraft
in flames.” This kill was not confirmed to Coombes anyway. Besides the description of
his own actions, he added details pertaining
to Saunders: “last spotted at 1155h during our
combat with five enemy aircraft over Lestre.
I saw him in a dive with an enemy plane on
his tail.” The enemy aircraft, by all accounts,
was Siempelkamp. Saunders landed his damaged Camel but was injured and became
Five days later, Siempelkamp would get his
third kill. Sources agree that it was on July
11 and that the victim was a D.H.9 (D5647) of
No. 107 Squadron. Both crews, 2Lt A. T. Simons and Lt T. F. Blight, were wounded and
taken prisoner. Up to this point, everything is
more or less certain. However, ambiguities
arise regarding the affiliation to the unit and
the machine on which Siempelkamp achieved this victory. According to some sources, he took command of Jasta 64w (Royal
Württemberg) already on July 7, on the day
when the unit’s acting CO, Ltn. August Hanko fell seriously ill. Other sources state that
he didn’t take on this command until July 25,
which lacks sense, because Jasta 64w and
Jasta 65 combined to form Jagdgruppe Siempelkamp on July 18, and it was very unlikely that a unit would be named after a pilot
that not only did not command it but wasn’t
even its member yet. To top it off, Siempelkamp converted onto the Fokker D.VII while
with Jasta 64w, and as far as can be determined, this aircraft also carried his paper
dragon artwork. There is at least one foto
showing part of the D.VII sporting similar tail
of the paper dragon, as known from Siempelkamp´s Pfalz D.IIIa.
In any case, the last two victories attained by
Eugen Siempelkamp were as the Commanding Officer of Jagdgruppe Siempelkamp.
His fourth and fifth victims were aircraft of
American pilots. First, on September 4, he
shot down a Salmson 2A2 (No. 12) of the 91st
Aero Squadron over Thiaucourt. The American Salmson aircraft were bounced by a formation of Siempelkamp’s Fokker D.VIIs and
it was very likely Siempelkamp himself that
fired the rounds that took the life of observer
2Lt. R. R. Sebring, one of the unit’s rookies.
“I was one of a formation of four (Salmson)
aircraft, and acting as protection, when I was
shot down on September 4th. The day was
a very cloudy one and we were surprised by
several Fokkers. The first I knew of their presence was was when I heard my observer
firing. There were at least four of them and
they were right on top of us. I was almost
immediately hit a glancing blow on the head
and knocked unconscious, and my observer,
Lieut. R. R. Sebring, was killed,” recounted
later Lt. Foster. As described by other participants of the clash, Foster´s 2A2 went into
a dive and began to spiral, but Foster came
to in time to set down in an emergency landing. One of the German fighters was reported to have stuck to Foster’s tail, but was
shot down by Lt. Hughey, and another of the
German fighters was downed by Lt. Strahm.
For the German pilots, the encounter was
not a stunning success…
Barely an Ace
Before noon on September 14, Eugen Siempelkamp took off on his final combat flight.
During this mission, he shot down another
Salmson 2A2, this time from the 99th Aero
Squadron. He hit the aircraft’s engine, but
the pilot managed to nurse it back home
and crash land at his home field. Both crewmembers, 1Lt. J. Hayes-Davis and 1Lt. C. E.
Spencer went through the ordeal unscathed,
and both were with their unit the same day.
Siempelkamp didn’t fair quite so well in ensuing combat with French fighters from Spa
90. He confronted three Spads, which were
flown by Adj. Charles Mace (twelve kills),
Lt. Marius Ambrogi (fourteen kills), and Lt.
Lemaire. These scored several hits, and one
of them was to Siempelkamp’s hand. He
managed to disengage from the fight, escape, and crash land. All three of the mentioned French pilots were credited with only
a probable kill over Siempelkamp. As a side
note, the book ‘The Jasta War Chronology’
(N. Franks, F. Bailey, and R. Duiven) credits
Siempelkamp with another kill on that day
of an unidentified Spad but it is unconfirmed anywhere else and so his total tally
stands at five victories. The injury sustained
to his hand prevented Siempelkamp from
going into combat again. His two-year older brother Ewald (born in March 1892) did
not escape injury either during the War. He
officially was formed by amalgamation of
the RFC and RNAS. It was in conjunction with
a separate event that occurred at the same
time about 40 km east of Siempelkamp’s kill,
where Franz Hemer downed a BF.2b.
Siempelkamp´s victim Cann survived being
shot down but succumbed to his injuries
the following day. A week after his first kill,
Siempelkamp was transferred to Jasta 29,
where he converted onto the Pfalz D.IIIa and
probably for the first time had the stylized
paper dragon painted on his aircraft. With
this plane, he achieved his second victory on
June 6 in the downing of another Camel not
far from Estaires. This time, the aircraft had
serial number D9631 and was flown by 2Lt W.
J. Saunders of No. 210 Squadron (formerly
No. 10 Squadron RNAS). This kill is the focus
of the boxart for Kit No. 8414.
Siempelkamp’s fourth victim was a Salmson 2A2 of the 91st Aero Squadron USAAS.
INFO Eduard - August 2021