Australian & New Zealand Military Aircraft Serials & History

Enemy WWI aircraft in the hands of Australian Forces

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Albatross D.Va D5390/17


WWI Captured Aircraft Image Gallery

  Several aircraft were either captured by Australian Forces including the Australian Flying Corps or claimed as War Trophies by the Australian Government.

Some of these aircraft made it back to Australia and a few survived for preservation.

70 aircraft captured aircraft were 'reserved' for shipment back to Australia. They then worked out that shipping costs would be too high after a list of 35 planes had arrived at 2 ASD in the UK.A further reduced number of 14 captured German Aircraft is listed as arriving in Australia.

This page is not yet complete.


Aircraft Serial Type Aircraft History
D636/17 Albatros D.III At 7:30 am on Monday, 8 October 1917 Oberleutnant Gustav Adolf Dittmar of Flieger Abteilung 300 ( Fl.Abt 300)  stepped into his Albatros 636/17 along with a comrade piloting another aircraft. Dittmar had moved to Turkey in 1912 and on outbreak of the war had joined the German forces assisting Turkey. The two Albatros D.III fighters from Fl.Abt. 300 were not tropical the tropical vaiants, but standard European fighters from the second production batch and arrived in theatre in June 1917.

That morning Second Lieutenant RC Steele (a Canadian) and Lieutenant JJ Lloyd-Williams from 111 Squadron took off from Deir el Belah with two other aircraft for their morning patrol.

At 8am the three British aircraft came into contact with the two Germans. Much to the shock of Dittmar, he was outgunned and outmanoeuvred by this new aircraft. A bullet through his petrol tank and another through the radiator ended his flight. The aeroplane glided to a smooth landing between Goz el Basal and Karm.

Some men of the 9th Light Horsemen who were on outpost work on the west side of Goz el Basal immediately mounted and galloped out to where the aeroplane had landed. They arrived at the same time as Dittmar was attempting to set light to the aircraft.

A couple yelled instructions and a few rifles waving wildly convinced Dittmar that his downed aircraft was not worth dying for so he awaited capture. It didn't take long for dozens of men to arrive and marvel at the captive aeroplane.

A gun limber was brought up and the aeroplane attached like a jinker on the limber and was carted off to British lines. No 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, members recovered the machine and moved it to their airfield where repairs, including a bullet holed radiator, were carried out returning it to flying condition.

Later on the aeroplane was dismantled and sent to London for examination.

Dittmar spent his first night of captivity as guest to the British at Deir el Belah and then onto a POW camp in Egypt where he spent the rest of his war.

A secton of wing fabric from 636/17 is held by the Aviation History Museum of Western Australia.

Albatross D.III D636/17 1 Sqn AFC 8 October 1917 Weli Sheik Nuran, Palestine AWM P01184.023 via Michael Louey  Albatross D.III D636/17 AWM Via Brendan Cowan  Albatros D.III D636/17 AWM via Brendan Cowan  Albatross D.III D636/17 1 Sqn AFC 8 October 1917 Weli Sheik Nuran, Palestine AWM P00730.018 via Michael Louey  Albatros D.III D636/17 AWM via Brendan Cowan  AHM of WA, Bull Creek, wing fabric from captured Albatros D.III 636/17. via Mike Mirkovic.

D5359/17 Albatros D.Va Albatros DVa fighters, including D5359/17, with AW FK.8 aircraft in the background AWM H02823 via Brendan Cowan  Albatros DVa fighters, including D5359/17, LVG C II CV4432/? and Armstrong Whitworth FK 8 aircraft AWM B02840 via Michael Louey  Albatros DVa serial D5359 and LVG C.V 4432 AWM B02943 via Michael Louey

Albatros D.Va D.Va D5390/17 is believed to have been constructed in about August/September 1917.
On the afternoon of 17 December 1917 several aircraft from 3 Squadron AFC were sent out on operational flights to take advantage of a period of fine weather. One of these machines was RE8 serial no. A3618, crewed by Lieutenant J L M Sandy (pilot) and Sergeant H F Hughes (observer). The machine climbed to its patrol height of 1,500 metres and began to range fire from an 8 in. howitzer battery, using its wireless transmitter to signal corrections to the fall of shot. The RE8 was attacked by six Albatros D.Va fighters, believed to be from Royal Prussian Jasta 29 based at Bellincamp. Sandy and Hughes successfully defended themselves for some minutes and shot down an Albatros piloted by Leutnant Rudolf Clausz. At this point another RE8 joined the action, and the two 3 Squadron machines then fought for a further 10 minutes. As a third RE8 flew to join the action, the German formation broke off combat. The third RE8 flew close to Sandy and Hughes, whose aircraft was flying normally and had apparently resumed its patrol. All appeared to be well. However, they did not return to base. Nothing was heard until the next day, when their machine was found over 80 km away. Both men had been killed by a single bullet, but their well trimmed and stable aircraft had flown unattended until fuel ran out and it landed with little damage.
The entire battle was witnessed from the ground, and in their absence both Sandy and Hughes had been recommended for immediate awards (MM and DCM respectively).
Leutnant Clausz, wounded in the upper thigh, crash landed in the lines of the 21st Battalion, 2nd Australian Division AIF and was taken prisoner. His aircraft, with bullet damage to the petrol tank, was recovered under heavy artillery fire by personnel of 3 Squadron AFC.
After a brief examination the machine was taken to Repair Park, 1 ASD at St. Omer on 18 December 1917.
It was then flown to Lympne in Kent in January 1918 and then to Aeroplane Experimental Station, RFC where it was given the identity G/101 and carefully examined.
On 31 December 1917 Headquarters AIF London lodged a claim for the aircraft with the UK War Office as a war trophy. This was agreed 6 February 1918.
During the early part of the year it was displayed at Australia House in London.
On 22 May the aircraft was taken over by the AFC, and on the 25th the machine was dismantled and packed for shipping to Australia.
After arrival D5390 was displayed in October 1920 in South Australia at an exhibition organised by the Motor Trades Association.
It returned to Melbourne 30 November 1920, and was subsequently displayed by the AWM at the Melbourne and Sydney Exhibition Buildings.
From 1941 the Albatros was displayed in Aircraft Hall, where it remained until the early 1960s when it was removed and stored at Duntroon.
In the mid 1960s substantial reconstruction of this aircraft was undertaken. The work was commenced by the Australian Society of World War One Aviation Historians, and was completed by personnel from the Camden Museum of Aviation under the direction of Mr Harold Thomas.
Large sections of the fabric have survived, and were used to guide the finish applied to the aircraft during major work completed in 2008.


Albatross D.Va D5390/17 AWM EO1685 via Brendan Cowan  Albatross D.Va D5390/17  Albatross D.Va D5390/17  Albatross DVa D5390/17 as G/101  Albatross D.Va D5390/17 Australian War Memorial  Albatross D.Va D5390/17 AWM RELAWM04806  Albatross D.Va D5390/17 AWM RELAWM04806_2  Albatross D.Va D5390/17 AWM RELAWM04806_3  Albatross D.Va D5390/17 AWM RELAWM04806_4  Albatross D.Va D5390/17 Australian War Memorial  Albatross D.Va D5390/17 Australian War Memorial

7416/17 Albatros D.Va Albatros Scout D VA Serial aircraft, serial 7416/17  with white-black-white fuselage stripes with '5' at nose, intermediate type national insignia which landed at Jenin after the town had been captured by Australians. The airmen were of the opinion that the town was still in Turkish hands.

The aircraft came from  Jasta 2 (F) otherwise known as Jasta 300 or more commonly know to the Germans as 'Jasta Felmy' named after their first commander the sportsman, (Oblt.) Gerhard Felmy.

Albatross D.III 7416/17 1 Sqn AFC Jenin, Northern Palestine AWM A01394 via Michael Louey

4908/18 ? Albatros C.Ib Probably 4908/18 based on the 2ASD list
? D.F.W. C.V Captured by Australian Light Horse
5390/17 ? D.F.W. C.V  
4432/17 D.F.W. C.V Captured along with other German aircraft at an enemy aerodrome after the Australian Light Horse had taken possession. The other aircraft included Albatros DVa D5359. There is some confusion over the exact location of the aerodrome as to whether it is Jenin or El Afule, most likely El Afule.

DFW C.V 4432/18 AWM H02813 via Michael Louey  DFW C.V 4432/18 AWM H02541 via Michael Louey

140/18 Fokker E.V Ex Jasta 1?
8371/18 Fokker D.VII After the war, one D.VII was brought to Australia as a war trophy. This was the O.A.W. (Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke) built 8371/18. It was the only one of seven D.VII's collected in France, to be send to Australia. After arrival in Australia, it was exposed in the Exhibition Building in Melbourne from 18 june 1920 until 3 July 1920. When the De Havilland DH-9 with Parer and McIntosh arrived in Melbourne in August 1920, they were greeted by an aerial escort of different aircraft, among which was a Fokker D.VII, probably the 8371/18.
What happened after 1924 is unknown. It might have been lost in a fire in 1925, but there are also statements that the D.VII was still in storage in 1940.

Highlight for Album: Fokker D.VII

1534/17 Halberstadt CL.II On 9 June 1918, Halberstadt CL.II (serial 1534/17) flown by Gefreiter Kuesler and Vizefeldwebel Mullenbach were forced to land at the aerodrome of 3 Squadron Australian Flying Corps at Flesselles, Somme (France).
The AFC aircrew were Lieutenant R.J. Armstrong and Lieutenant F.J. Mart flying in Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8 serial D4689.
It was later presneted to the Australian Government as a War Trophy.
The Australian Goverment then presented this aircraft to the Tasmanian Government.

Captured Halberstadt CL II 1534/17 1918 via Brendan Cowan  Halberstadt CL.II 1534/17 3 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, Flesselles, France, 1918  NLA Image  Halberstadt CL II 1534/17 June_1918  HALBERSTADT CL II AIRCRAFT 1534/17 AWM P01426_002 via Brendan Cowan  Captured Third Army German Halberstadt CL.II, 1534/17 taken at Coblenz Aerodrome, Germany via Brendan Cowan  HALBERSTADT CL II 1534/17 1918 via Brendan Cowan

8284/17 Halberstadt CL.II  
6867/18 Halberstadt CL.V  
? Halberstadt CL.II ? This German airfield was captured by the Australian Light Horse.
Jenin Afuleh airfield, Central Palestine.

Captured Halberstadt CL II in Palestine 1918


Hannover CL.II Highlight for Album: Hanover CL.II
884/17 Junkers J.1 4 Sqn AFC 1919, Bickendorf

Highlight for Album: Junkers J.1

6867/17 LVG C.V  
  LVG C.II 4 Sqn AFC 1919, Armentieres
  LVG C.II LVG CV AWM B03565 via Michael Louey  LVG CV AWM B03566 via Brendan Cowan  LVG CV Palestine AWM via Brendan Cowan
7243/18 LVG C.VI LVG CVI 7243/18 was forced down by Lieutenant (Lieut) V H Thornton and H N Kerr while flying Sopwith Camels of No 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps (AFC) near Nieppe, on 9 October 1818.

LVG C.VI 4 Sqn AFC Armentieres P10846.001 via Michael Louey  LVG CVI 7243/18 4 Sqn AFC AWM A03882 via Brendan Cowan  ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, 1941-05. LVG C VI 7243/18, ON DISPLAY AS PART OF WAR BOND DRIVE. CREDIT: ADELAIDE CHRONICLE 1941-05-19 AWM P00355.001 via Brendan Cowan 




Pfalz D.IIIa This aircraft was captured on 30 May 1918 when flown by VZFW Jackob Pollinger ofJasta 776 when he ran out of fuel and was foreced to descend into British lines.
It was alloted British serial G/SBN/13 or G/5Bde/13.
It was later claimed by the Australian Government as a war trophy and came to Australia after the war.

Pfalz D IIIA 8284/17 AWM P00355.020  Pfalz D.III 8284/17 AWM P00355_040

2600/18 Pfalz D.XII This aircraft was given to Australia under terms of the Armistice that ended the First World War. The aircraft was sent from 2 Aircraft Salvage Depot in France to the UK by cross-channel steamer in late 1919, and was subsequently shipped to Australia.
Its service history is unknown, but contemporary evidence suggests that the aircraft was regarded as 'used'. This indicates that the machine may have seen active use.
2600/18 was displayed in the Memorial from the 1940s until the 1960s.
During this time it was mistakenly identified as a Pfalz which was forced down after combat with aircraft from 4 Squadron AFC in 1918.

Pfalz D XII 4 Sqn AFC Bickendorf AWM P00355.016  Pfalz D.XII 2600/18 AWM RELAWM04805  Pfalz D.XII 2600/18 AWM RELAWM04805_2.jpg

993? Rumpler C. Rumpler C-type Serial 993?, One of the German aircraft apportioned to Australia under the Peace Terms. This aircraft reached Australia but its ultimate fate is unknown.

Rumpler C-type Serial 993?,  AWM E05442 via Brendan Cowan

7927 Rumpler C.VII Operated by 4 Squadron, AFC at Bickendorf 1919.

Rumpler C.VII 7927 
AWM P00826_165 
via Brendan Cowan  Rumpler C.VII 7927
AWM P00826_166 via Brendan Cowan  Rumpler C.VII 7927 
AWM P00826_167 via Brendan Cowan  A captured German Rumpler C.VII, Serial 7927 with British cockades (insignia) on the fuselage. As part of the British Army of Occupation, No 4 Squadron, AFC was stationed at Bickendorf in Cologne from 7 December 1918 until March 1919. AWM A03943 via Brendan Cowan


The Author of this page is Brendan Cowan.

Source: National Archives, Australian Military Aircraft 1909-1918, Keith Isaacs, AWM, Men & Machines of the Australian Flying Corps 1914-1919, Charles Schaedel, High Adventure, A.H.Cobby, British Military Aircraft Serials 1911-1979, Bruce Robertson, Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, Air Enthusiast Quarterly No 47,

Emails: Messageboard Discussion, Michael Louey, Mike Mirkovic

Updated 05 February 2014


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