This is a signed document by PLM-winner Eduard Ritter von Schleich about pilot Hans Ritter von Adam, who had twenty-one confirmed victories. Eduard Ritter von Schleich (1888-1947) was a well-known WW I German Ace. He had rejoined the infantry in August 1914 at WW I’s outbreak. He was wounded and requested a transfer to the Imperial German Air Service. He began his service flying two-seat observation planes. He was a tenacious and dutiful soldier. He was wounded on one mission, but rather than return to base, he had his observer tend to his wound, and then returned. Following the wounding, he was placed in command of Fliegerschule Nr 1 during September 1916, which he commanded until his return to flying service a year later. Between September and December 1917, von Schleich racked up an impressive score. By December 1917, he was awarded the Orden Pour le Mérite.
While he commanded Jasta 21, von Schleich’s good friend was killed in a dogfight. To honor him, von Schleich ordered his Albatros D. V painted all black, with an emblem of the rampant Bavarian Lion against a blue and white checkerboard field. This caused a real stir. He soon became known as “The Black Knight of Germany.” Later, von Schleich replaced his Albatros with a Fokker D. VII, painted in similar livery. He finished the war with a total of thirty-five confirmed victories and JG 4’s command.
Eduard Ritter von Schleich survived the war to go through many aviation and non-aviation-related jobs. In the mid 1930’s, he joined the newly-established Luftwaffe. He was an early commander of highly-famed JG 26 and was elevated to General, where his career ended effectively in November 1944 due to his poor health. At the war’s end, he was questioned by American authorities for commanding units in both Norway and Denmark as a Generalleutnant. No charges were ever brought, as von Schleich had operated only as a correct and honorable military officer. He died in 1947 at the age of fifty-nine.
Today we are offering a very important document from the time that he commanded Fliegerschule Nr 1 while recovering from his wounds. This is an official evaluation of one of the school’s students, Hans Adam. Adam was von Schleich’s observer in May 1916, and the man who tended to von Schleich’s wound while flying on a mission. When von Schleich was posted to Fliegerschule Nr 1 as commander to recover from his wounds, Adam followed him. It was here that von Schleich wrote the report on Adam. After graduating from the school, Adam was posted to Jasta 34b. Following that, he transferred to Jasta 6 and became its commander when Eduard Ritter von Dostler, a PLM-winner, was killed. Having been awarded the Knights Cross with Swords of the Hohenzollern House Order from Prussia, he was in line to be awarded the PLM. Even though he had the necessary twenty victories in November 1917, the call from Berlin did not come nor did he receive that award. He was, however, awarded Bavaria’s Knight’s Cross of the Military Max Joseph Order, which included a knighthood. This was done after his death, and he was then known as Hans Ritter von Adam.
The document, which is one page, measures 13″ x 8 1/4.” It is dated 14 December 1916. It also notes that the document was from Fliegerschule Nr 1, located in Schleissheim. The document consists of three paragraphs and is handwritten in blue ink. It is signed by Oberleutnant Schleich (von Schleich was not knighted at this point). Mention is made of the school and his position. Two holes are punched on its left side, showing that the document was in a binder. The document is informative. It would make an important addition to an aviation collection, as it is signed by a PLM-winner and gives an insight into a future twenty-one victory ace, who was knighted by his native Bavaria.