History Behind The Card: Etrich Monoplane.
Card #4 of 25, Lambert & Butler Cigarettes, Aviation series 1915
- Igo (Ignaz) Etrich, December 25, 1879, in Trutnov, Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic) – February 4, 1967, Salzburg, Austria;
- Alfred Friedrich, March 18, 1891, Schöneberg, Berlin, Germany – October 13, 1968, Bad Kissingen, Bavaria, Germany.
Despite the very lovely artwork on this Lambert & Butler Aviation series card, I’m not going to write too much more about – mostly because I have already in full detail HERE on a Wills’s Aviation series card No. 63.
However, because of what is written on the reverse of this Lambert & Butler card, I will add a wee bit more to the story… or to A story. Here’s the reverse of the card:
Just in case, I’ll write out the contents of the card’s description for you: The Etrich was the first of the German machines known as the Taube, all of which are more or less built on this plan, with the back swept wings, from which they derive their name of Taube or Dove. The particular machine here shown had just been flown over from Germany to France by Herr Friedrich, with Herr Etrich as passenger.
What I like about the descriptions of the aircraft on these Lambert & Butler cards, is that the author often tries to tell a story… to make the reader feel as though they are in the thick of the action. In this case, we learn that the Etrich monoplane (the Dove) has JUST been flown over “here” in France.
What I don’t like, however, is the lack of a first name for those involved. However, it’s only a minor inconvenience, as Herr (Mr.) Friedrich, is actually Alfred Friedrich, and as I’ll show soon enough, a decent enough pilot. Herr (Mr.) Etrich, of course, is the aeroplane’s designer and manufacturer, one Igo (Ignaz) Etrich.
As noted above, Etrich was born in Bohemia… which is a part of the Czech Republic… but the actual town in Bohemia – Trutnov – well… here’s what Wikipedia says: Trutnov is located on a 12th-century Slavic settlement named after the Úpa River; the first written mention of this settlement is from 1260. In order to develop the countryside, King Wenceslaus I of Bohemia granted German settlers the right to establish a town at the pre-existing settlement. The first mention of the German name Trautenau, from which the modern name Trutnov is derived, is from a document of King Wenceslaus II in 1301. Since the end of the 14th century, Trutnov was a dowry town for the Bohemian queen (Killer! – Andrew’s attempt at humor). Its stout defenses repelled all enemies except for a capture by Jan Žižka during the Hussite Wars in 1421 and sieges by the Swedes during the Thirty Years’ War in 1642 and 1647. It also was the site of the Battle of Trautenau in 1866 during the Austro-Prussian War.
Additionally: Germans were the ethnic majority in the town until their expulsion in 1945.
Y’see… I was originally upset that they (Lambert & Butler) called Mr. Etrich “Herr” – a German term, when he wasn’t actually German… but I suppose that even back then, regardless of where one’s born, where the family came from decades, nay, centuries ago, holds more sway. Kindda like how some people want to blame American Asians for Covid-19, forgetting that they are Americans, and not Chinese… and even then, they chose to leave the Asiatic area. So… Bohemian, Czech he may have been born, but German he was.
Let’s forget racialized politics for a second, and let’s look at Alfred Friedrich – sort of… eventually.
Like most things involved with the Lambert & Butler card series, I can’t dig out a whole lot of information on the people involved – for instance, with Friedrich, I have no idea what his life was like prior to 1912, when he was 21, going on 22!
We do know that he received his pilot’s license on January 11, 1912 – No. 149 from the German Flyers’ Union after being taught by Gustav Witte. Witte had only received his pilot’s license (No. 97) the year before on August 22, 1911. After Witte earned his certificate, he opened up his own aviation school in Teltow, Germany in cooperation with Flugmaschine Wright GmbH. Before going in to aviation, Witte had been a postman, and afterwards, was known to the populace of Berlin as “the flying postman”.
After earning his pilot’s license, he entered in the Johannisthal aviation competition held September 24 to October 1, 1911, and earned third place – despite flying an older Wright aircraft that he himself had reworked.
Witte also performed a night flight on March 5, 1912, flying by moon light. Night flying wasn’t really something the early aviators cared to do, so this flight was a bit of a daring effort.
Lastly, Witte held a flight demonstration on March 15, 1912 for some school children. Aww. However, it was a fairly windy day – and the smart money back then was to not bet your aeroplane could handle aggressive winds – but Witte didn’t want to let the kiddies down. Sadly for all, Witte’s aeroplane went into an uncontrollable dive from 50 meters (164 feet) up, killing him.
Despite the relative inexperience and bad fortune of his aviation teacher Friedrich had better success. For example, in December of 1912, he flew a Rumpler Pigeon – a two-seater monoplane for five hours continuously, setting a then-record flight for time aloft in a heavier-than-air craft.
Rumpler-Luftfahrzeugbau GmbH, Rumpler-Werke aka Rumpler, was a German aircraft and automobile manufacturer founded in Berlin by Austrian engineer Edmund Rumpler in 1909 as Rumpler Luftfahrzeugbau. The company originally manufactured copies of the Etrich Taube monoplane under the Rumpler Taube trademark, but turned to building reconnaissance biplanes of its own design through the course of the First World War, in addition to a smaller number of fighters and bombers.
So… there’s our initial tie-in between Etrich and Friedrich.
Now… you’ll notice that the Etrich aeroplane noted above is something called a “Pigeon”, while contemporary naming of the aircraft manufactured by Etrich is “Dove”. Po-tay-toe — poh-tah-toe. Same aircraft – heck, same bird re: scientific nomenclature.
Back to Friedrich… in September of 1912, he completed the very first corkscrew (controlled spin) maneuver – yeah, in an aeroplane similar to the one above. Apparently, the spin was done on purpose. So, a first for our boy Friedrich.
Later that month, Friedrich, along with navigator Hermann Elias, performed a five country flight in the Etrich Taube. Pretty sure no corkscrews were performed at that time.
As for what Friedrich was doing for money at this time – no idea. I suspect he was still manufacturing and selling the Taube aeroplanes – perhaps showing the aircraft’s versatility by piloting his own metal bird.
We do know that he became the chief pilot for the main Rumpler-Flugzeugwerke company in Berlin as of April 1, 1914.
A few months later in June, Friedrich performed the first flight over the Balkan Mountains with a passenger – which was a big deal, because it also demonstrated the superiority of German aviation engineering. Ja, das is gut (Thank-you Hogan’s Heroes).
War broke out on July 28, 1914 – it had been brewing for some while, of course – but Germany still did not have an air force, as such. So he joined up as a contract employee, flying in Feldfliegerabteilung 14 performing reconnaissance flying over Eastern Prussia in September.
But thanks to his work, he was awarded a pair of Iron Crosses, and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, albeit in the military reserve, as he maintained his contract employee status.
On August 1, 1915, with The Great War (aka WW1) in full tilt, Friedrich became the head of the Döberitz Aviation School in Döberitz, Germany, where both Oswald Boelcke (see HERE) and the Red Baron – Manfred von Richthofen (see HERE) would attend before flying for Germany. Obviously, Friedrich taught aviation well, as because Boelcke ended up with 40 victories and von Richthofen had 80!
On January 1, 1916 (and because he was still only a contracted employee by Germany’s military), he was given leave to train pilots for the Bulgaria military, which he did for the ensuing six months. Following that, from the summer of 1916 through to the end of the war (November 11, 1918), he worked as a pilot for the Berlin Albatros company.
At the war’s conclusion, Friedrich started his own engineering company – and because he was mostly interested om light aircraft construction, the company gained a level of success when it began developing sport and training aircraft.
Germany’s Hanns Klemm and the Englishman Geoffrey de Havilland (yes, THE de Havilland) were two of his customers, as Friedrich contributed significantly to the de Havilland D.H. 60 Moth aircraft.
The success of his sport and training craft made Friedrich quite popular in Germany, and he became the head of the German branch of the de Havilland Aircraft Company in Berlin-Tempelhof in 1926.
After the Alte Adler association was founded in September 1927, he managed it with Walter Mackenthun until the beginning of World War II.
In 1929, he married Lore Gronau (1908-2002) – later Lore Friedreich-Groneau, an artist who would be come very well known for her sculptures. While I do not possess any sculptures (I used to be able to afford paintings and pottery), I do appreciate the skill required to produce a fine art piece. Below are two examples of the very talented Lore Friedrich-Gronau’s work:
Just after Hitler came to power, in 1934 Friedrich opened up an aircraft repair facility for light aircraft in Strausberg, Germany – primarily for airplane manufacturers Heinkel and the Klemm Leichtflugzeugbau GmbH (aka the Klemm Light Aircraft Company).
In nearby Berlin (about 30 kilometers – 18.65 miles – west of Strausberg), there were a great many aviation schools and personal flyers – so there was always a need for repairs, meaning business was good. It allowed Friedrich to purchase a neighboring closed electrical and waterworks facility that he used to increase his repair shop footprint. He then purchased a 500 meter (1,640 foot) long field north of the town where he constructed a final assembly hall for the aircraft.
Damaged airplanes would be transported to the site via the Strausberg Railway to a constructed rail siding, where Friedrich and his 250-plus crew would disassemble the aircraft and repair it under the supervision of Germany’s Reich Aviation Ministry.
Because of his service to Germany’s aviation industry (even though it was just for sport and leisure aircraft, the Reich Aviation Ministry attempted to get Friedrich a position within Germany’s Air Force – but to no avail.
Still, during WWII, the company would work on damaged Messerschmidt Me 163 Komet aircraft – the only rocket-powered fighter aircraft ever to have been operational and the first piloted aircraft of any type to exceed a speed of 1,000 kilometers (631.4 miles) per hour in level flight.
However… this is me amending things. Take a look below in the “Comments” section for a LOC from Bernard, who quite rightly takes me to task for some “crappy” info I have here on the Komet. Thanks, Bernard!
Apparently the Komet’s landings were usually rough, causing the aircraft to need repairs constantly.
When the war ended, and Germany was in tatters, the assembly hall was torn down in 1946-47.
Messerschmidt ME 163 B Specifications:
- Crew: 1;
- Wingspan: 9.3 meters (30 feet 6 inches);
- Length: 5.7 meters (18 feet 8 inches);
- Height: 2.5 meters (8 feet 2 inches);
- Empty weight: 1,905 kilograms (4,200 pounds);
- Loaded weight (maximum): 4,309 kilograms (9,500 pounds);
- Powerplant: 1 x Helmuth Walter Kiel Kommandogesellschaft HWK 109-509 A, bi-propellant liquid rocket engine;
- Engine power: 3,307 pounds thrust;
- Maximum speed: 900 kilometers per hour (560 miles per hour);
- Ceiling: 15.1 kilometers (49,543 feet);
- Armament: 2 x 30mm (1.181 inch) Rheinmetall Borsig MK 108 cannon with 60 rpg OR 2 x 20mm (0.787 inch) MG 151/20 cannon with 100 rpg
After the war, I don’t have any information on Friedrich. His wife was successful, and perhaps he managed to profit during the war…
Which brings us to the end of this story, er, this Lambert & Butler Aviation series card. The next card in this series will be about a British dirigible.