Recently I have been researching the war time service of my uncle Pilot Officer Graham George Buckland, 250 Squadron R.A.F. I came across an article in Wikipedia about the Luftwaffe pilot Hans-Joachim Marseille. In the article it mentions Graham as being Marseille’s 65th victory and that Marseille marked his grave, collected his papers and then dropped a letter at the R.A.F. airfield. The reference for this is given as Heaton & Lewis 2012 page 106.
I was wondering if you have any more information about Graham’s death and how you became aware of this amazing story?
Thanks very much for your email. This event was witnessed by the men I interviewed, such as Ludwig Franzisket, Emil Clade and Werner Schroer, who were in the battle, and both Schroer and Franzisket were on the recovery of your uncle with Marseille. Gustav Rodel also saw the action, and Eduard Neumann confirmed. One of the other men, Franz Stigler (see the book A Higher Call) said a prayer for him, being Catholic.
We have had a few responses from persons around the world who are learning of many events that have only come to light due to this book. If I may, the German pilots were very respectful of your uncle, and Marseille was quite shaken by the event. Ironically he would die the same way, as you know.
If I can have your permission I would like to place your email (minus your address of course) on our website. I have been remiss in posting comments, and yours is a very good inquiry. If I may be of assistance further, please do not hesitate to contact me.
D. Heaton and Anne-Marie Lewis
2326 Monroe Street
Wilmington, NC 28401
Dear Colin and Anne-Marie,
Thank you very much for your reply. It is amazing that there is the knowledge of the incident to this day. The family only knew bits and pieces of what happened, so I will go online and purchase ‘A Higher Call’. My mother will be very interested in the extra information of what happened to her brother. It is comforting for the family that a prayer was said for Graham.
The family has Graham’s wrist watch that was sent home from North Africa, do you think it is possible it was retrieved by Hans-Joachim Marseille and dropped at the R.A.F. airfield?
I am more than happy if you use any of my emails. Please find attached a picture of Graham.
Thank you Colin,
The parcel post has just arrived. I ripped open the envelope and went straight to the index and then too page 106. The only person home was Max, my daughter’s boyfriend who is over from Rome for four weeks. His occupation is a pilot. I sat down and read him the page and couldn’t believe events like this have been recorded. He said Italians only think of history if it is over 2000 years old.
I will phone Emily at the R.A.A.F. Museum on Monday. I am sure she will be delighted with the book that details Graham’s last minutes.
Please find attached the pictures of Graham’s watch we found at my mother’s home.
Thank you very much for the dedication in the front of The Star Of Africa.
MS E Constantine
POINT COOK VIC 3027
Tel: (03) 8348 6007
Fax: (03) 8348 6692
Press information in the Wilmington Star News with update
At the museum: Richard Carthew, his mother Barbara (Buckland) Carthew, Anne Tunstall and Sen. Michael Ronaldson, Minister for Veteran Affairs
It would be good if you could sign the book ‘to those Australians who served’ or along those lines. And I think it would be good idea if you came to Australia to visit your niece as well as a promotional tour. I don’t know any others in the photo, but I will explain this later.
About six months ago I was visiting my cousin, Anne Tunstall and we were going through some old family pictures etc. and I noticed she had a number of letters and telegrams sent by Graham. At Christmas time I was visiting mum, Barbara Carthew nee Buckland. She had photos and government letters relating to Graham. Amongst them was a group photo of you pilots, possibly a graduation photo. I then rang Emily Constantine, Collections Manager of the R.A.A.F. Museum to see if she might know where the photo was taken and was in it.
She invited me to the museum, so I took the photo and Graham’s log book, thinking it might help establish a time line. I was very impressed with Emily’s knowledge and interest that I donated the log book and photo on the spot. As I was leaving I thought that when mum and Anne pass on some of the artifacts will be split up. I rang them both and they agreed donating them was a good idea. Thinking that a small donation ceremony would be nice I contacted my sisters and cousins to ‘rally the troops together’. Then there was the date to get everyone to the museum, it was then decided we should do it on May 31. The day after Graham’s death and the day before his birthday.
We were all set, mum, 13 years younger than Graham, the 5 nieces and nephews and 8 of the 10 grand nieces and nephews could make it. Five weeks before I was watching the Dawn Service televised from Gallipoli for the 100 anniversary of landing of ANZAC troops. One of the speakers was Senator Michael Ronaldson, Minister for Veteran Affairs. Perhaps as an off chance the Senator could accept the donation of Graham’s war time artifacts on behalf of the museum. Knowing that the Senator came from the same town, Ballarat, as Graham, I sent an email to his office. To my delight about a week later an email came back with the Senator’s acceptance. I then rang Emily at the museum and this put them in a spin, they very rarely get a government minister visiting. Everything went very well and the family had lunch at a restaurant not far from the air force base.
I wore Graham’s medal on the day and when my wife, Debra was putting them back in the case she found nine photographs and two letters. One of the photos is of the crashed German plane. That evening my mother found Graham’s wrist watch, the one I was enquiring about. I have attached a photo of the presentation, in the back ground is a Gypsy Moth, similar to the one Graham would have done his initial training in.
I have noticed you are researching Simon Bolivar, you will be relieved to know we have no family connection to Bolivia or the entire South American continent.
Many thanks for your quick and most kind reply!
I have the greatest respect for your books, which are very well researched, and from them it is obvious that you have met and talked with a quite large number of Luftwaffe veterans. For instance, your book about Marseille is absolutely outstanding among Luftwaffe pilot biographies.
As you might know, I too have met a large number of Luftwaffe veterans, and it is because of that that I can see that your books are absolutely genuine, and they deserve the highest praise.
In Sweden, we have a discipline within academic history that is called ”källkritik” – which would translate as ”critical approach towards sources”. I think it might be something like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Source_criticism
I have studied ”källkritik” and also taught it to students. According to the criteria of ”källkritik”, your sources to von Maltzahn’s Jewish background should be regarded as quite plausible.
I am telling you all of this (which might sound a bit too detailed) just to let you know tyhat I am in no way questioning your conclusion. On the contrary, I would like to ask you for your permission to refer to that in my forthcoming book ” Tyska flygare under andra världskriget : veteranernas berättelser Del 2” (which in English would be ”German Airmen During the Second World War: The Veterans’ Stories, Part 2”). See: https://vaktelforlag.se/produkt/tyska-flygare-andra-varldskriget-veteranernas-berattelser-del-2
There will be a chapter containing a biography about Günther von Maltzahn there. My sources to that part are documents, interviews with veterans (Galland, Steinhoff, Hermann Neuhoff, Hannes Trautloft) and published sources (Prien's JG 53 volumes, Cull's "Fighters Over Malta: Gladiators and Hurricanes", Shores & Cull's "Malta: The Spitfire Year 1942", Sauer's "Absturz im Kinzigtal", and Rigg's book - which I published in Swedish - I am a publisher too), and various ancestor research sites. I would be grateful if you would allow me to include what you wrote in your e-mail as a source too.
I plan to publish ”German Airmen During the Second World War: The Veterans’ Stories”, parts 1 & 2 in English next year. When Vol. 4 of my ”Black Cross/Red Star: Sir War over the Eastern Front” will also be published.
My research into various ancestor research sites have resulted in this regarding von Maltzahn’s mother:
Günther Freiherr von Maltzahn's mother was Helene Klara Alexandrine Elisabeth Alice von Borcke (1884-1946)
Her mother was Agnes von Klot-Trautvetter, Freiin von Klot-Trautvetter 1857-1887 (* 4 February 1857 - Wutzig)
I have her husband and parents too. I am trying to verify whether any of them were of Jewish backgroiund, but so far I haven’t found anything that can either confirm or dispel that. I will let you know when I have found out. However, judging from your sources, I believe that we will find a confirmation regarding one of von Maltzahn’s ancestors. (I have also researched his father.) It would be great to publish the final confirmation.
Another intersting thing is this:
William Denman Zirkle married Dagmar Helene Agnes von Maltzahn (probably Günther von Maltzahn's daughter), October 10, 1970 (deceased September 1987). Children: Micaela, Sigrid Anne, Luise Bettina, William Wade.
Read about William Wade Zirkle here:
I e-mailed him the day before yesterday, and I will inform you if I get a reply.
I think that you and I might benefit from a mutual cooperation in the future, since our research have the same focus.
I look forward to hearing from you again.
All the best,
Marseille tribute: There are a few irrelevant clips, but has good videos of Marseille, including receiving the Oak Leaves and Swords in Rastenburg.
Interview regarding Marseille with Stuka pilot Heinz-Georg Wilhelm Migeod
Video of Field Marshall Erwin Rommel and Marseille, and film of a couple of their meetings in Libya.
Short newsreel of Marseille with Adolf Hitler receiving the Oak Leaves and Swords. This meeting is detailed in its entirety in the book.
Marseille and JG-27 German Wartime Documentary
Marseille flying footage in Libya
Marseille photo Montage
Marseille and Hitler at Awards Ceremony
Marseille documentary in German/Russian overdub
Marseille North Africa documentary
No. 3 Squadron RAAF view of Marseille