Reginald Peel Pohlmann


Reginald Peel Pohlmann was the son of Frederick Pohlmann.

After leaving Hipperholme Grammar School, he gained a commission in the Royal Flying Corps.

Posted to No. 25 Squadron out in France, he carried out his first operational flight as pilot of a D.H.4 in early October 1917, when detailed to bomb Courrières, which place was revisited three days later, when literature also accompanied the bomb load.

Further targets attacked in the same month included Hantay and Armentières-Bixschoote, although due to engine trouble, Pohlmann was compelled to return with his bomb load from at least two other trips. And it is clear that the chances of running into enemy aircraft in the course of such operations were far from slim, an encounter recorded by Pohlmann on 4 January 1918 being a case in point:

While returning from a photographic reconnaissance, we were attacked by seven [Albatros] scouts [south of Cambrai]. We charged right through them at 130 mph. One enemy aircraft did a stall turn under our fuselage at about 50 yards range. The Observer, 2nd Lieutenant O. S. Hinson, fired about 80 rounds and the machine was seen to turn on its back and dive down apparently out of control. The remainder could not keep up with us but followed firing at us from long range

Inevitably, perhaps, just over a month later, on 5 February 1918, when detailed to attack Diynze railway station, Pohlmann and his Air Gunner, 2nd Class Air Mechanic R. Ireland, were downed in flames by a far superior enemy force. A fellow 25 Squadron pilot later reported that he had

noticed one of our machines burst into flames and go rapidly down and after a drop of about 2000 feet I saw the wings fold back.

His CO Major C. S. Ruffus, wrote to Pohlmann's parents in the following terms:

I very greatly regret having to announce to you that your son is missing. It is a great blow to me and to all of the Squadron. I took a particular interest in your son, as I knew him at home, and gave him his first instruction in flying at Doncaster. He has done most exceptionally good work in France, carrying out all operations entrusted to him with the greatest bravery and skill. I could always rely on him, and his loss is a great one to the Squadron and to the RFC. I was very fond indeed of your son and proud to have him in my Squadron

As it transpired, the 19 year old pilot's D.H. 4 was one of two No. 25 Squadron aircraft claimed that day by the German ace Leutnant Bongartz of Jasta 36.

After the war, his remains were recovered and reinterred at Harlebeke New British Cemetery, Courtrai, Belgium

© Malcolm Bull 2018
Revised 08:54 /5th March 2018 / html / 6053

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