Hans-Joachim Buddecke

Hans-Joachim Buddecke (22 August 1890 – 10 March 1918) was a German Flying Ace in World War I, credited with thirteen victories. He was the third ace (after Max Immelmann and Oswald Boelcke) to earn the Blue Max (Pour le Mérite). He saw combat in Bulgaria, Turkey, and the Western Front.


Buddecke was born in Berlin and followed his father's footsteps into the Army. In 1904, he started as a Cadet; in 1910, he received his commission as Leutnant in the 115th Life Guards Infantry Regiment. He left the army in 1913 due to his little time for a social life and his new enthusiasm for flying. In the same year, he moved to the USA to start a new life. There, he worked as a mechanic at a car factory in Indianapolis. By saving his earnings, he soon was able to buy his own aircraft (a Nieuport monoplane) and he immediately taught himself how to fly. On the day Buddecke started his own aircraft production company, war was declared and he abandoned his business plans and returned to Germany. Travelling under a fake name, Buddecke crossed the Atlantic in the Greek ship Athene to Palermo (Italy). After he arrived in Europe, he immediately made his way home to join the German Flying Service.

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