12 January 1916 – Pour Le Mérite

Both Oswald Boelcke and Max Immelmann scored their eighth victories today, and both have been awarded the “Pour Le Mérite”, the highest order of merit that Prussia can award.

For his eight victory, Boelcke shot down a RE7 (2287) from 12 Squadron RFC, the aircraft landed near Mouscron. The pilot 2nd Lieutenant Leonard Kingden was killed while the observer Lieutenant K W Grey was taken prisoner.

Meanwhile Immelmann shot down 2nd Lieutenant Herbert Thomas Kemp and his observer 2nd Lieutenant Sidney Cornelius Hathaway from 11 Squadron RFC. They were on patrol in their Vickers FB5 (5460). When attacked both aircraft began to circle but Immelmann’s Fokker was able to turn tighter and got onto the tail and in the blind spot of the ‘Gunbus’, firing over 100 rounds at it. With the engine at the rear protecting the pilot, he only suffered a minor wound but Hathaway was killed. The F.B.5 caught fire in the air after their fuel tank was hit and Kemp hurriedly landed and was able to get out unharmed.

Both Boelcke and Immelmann received their medals this evening from the Kaiser. They are the first airmen to receive the award.

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