Ernst Freiherr von Althaus
Oberleutnant (Reserve), "Jametz" Fokker Squadron, Jasta 10

He was awarded the Pour le Mérite for 8th aerial victory

Born March 19, 1890 in Coburg, Bayern
Jasta 10
9 (possibly 17) Victories
Awards: Saxon Knight's Cross to the Order of St. Heinrich, Iron Cross 2nd Class, Iron Cross 1st Class, Knight's Cross with Swords of the Hohenzollern House Order, Sax-Ernestine House Order, Knight 2nd with Swords, Brunswick War Merit Cross 2nd Class, Hesse Honor Decoration for Bravery, and the Pour le Mérite.

He was the son of the Adjutant to the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. When he was 16 or 19 years old, depending upon which book you read, he joined the 1st Royal Saxon Hussar Regiment of the Royal Saxon Army Corps as an ensign. The 1st Royal Saxon Hussars were immediately called to action when the war broke out in 1914. He became an outstanding patrol leader and demonstrated his ability to bravely lead missions. On April 4, 1915 he was transferred to the German Air Service. He even crashed in flames while training, but escaped without injury.

Freiherr von Althaus enjoyed poker, girls, and tried to live life to it's fullest. Most German pilots did this since life could often be very short as a pilot during World War I. His nicknamed was "Hussar Altahaus" along with another nickname "Altstiefel", which meant "old shoe". Most of the pilots in Jagdgeschwader I had affectionately given nicknames. Also apparently, Hussars were known to wear their sabers while flying and many damaged their aircraft while exiting and entering their planes. This little eccentricity was quickly dropped.

His first victory came to him on December 3, 1915 when he shot down a BE2c. By the end of April 1916, he had increased his victory tally and was wounded in the leg. Ernst von Althaus was hospitalized for treatment and met a nurse there who would be destined to become his wife. His career progressed from being assigned to Jasta 14 and then to Jasta 10 upon Rittmeister von Richthofen's request. While flying in Jasta 10, he marked his plane with his nickname intials HA using morse code, five dots and one dash. His career with Jasta 10 was short lived when the Rittmeister von Richthofen had him transferred. It may have been due to his style of flying alone learned while flying in the earlier years of the Air Service or he may have been showing signs of losing his eyesight that caused the Manfred von Richthofen to rethink his choice of Jagdstaffel leader. His new posting was Jastaschule II.

He served as an instructor until his eyesight would no longer allow him to do so. He then returned to the trenches and fought as an infantry company commander on the Verdun Front. After a severe battle and only fifteen men left, he and his men were captured by American troops. He was sent to a prisoner of war camp until September 1919. At the end of the war, he pursued a legal career, but went blind in 1937. Despite this handicap he continued to study law and during the Second World War was appointed the, Landerrichtsdirektor, Director of the County Court of Berlin, and then in 1945 he served shortly as a interpreter for the Allies. In 1946 he died on November 29 due to an illness.

Air Page WWI Menu Main Menu