Preliminaries for a Voluntary Air Corps and the Recruiting of Civilian Pilots for Military Service

It was on January 19th, 1911 that the War Ministry gave the Kaiser a report about considerations to expand the German Voluntary Automobile Corps, a group of civilian yet ranking officers as automobile owners, (who were prepared for action in the case of war) with an Air Corps. An idea that was picked up again in 1914. In the German archives in Berlin there is a file that was opened on February 17th, 1914 which reveals that the Royal Prussian War Minister, as well as the supervising Chief of Staff recom-mended the Trustee Director of the National Air Fund to establish an Imperial Voluntary Air Corps. Copies went to the Royal Sachsen and Bavarian military authorized persons.

Flieger-Corps file in the Federal Archive Berlin
Flieger-Corps file in the Federal Archive Berlin

Further copies went to the Chief of Staff of Transport, the State Secretary of the Navy and to Prince Heinrich, brother of the German Kaiser, Navy Admiral and Chief of Staff of the German Voluntary Automobile Corps. Not only is the founding of such a Corps recommended in this memorandum, in order to put obligation on civilian pilots for service to their fatherland. Leanings are directed at the Automobile Corps to organise themselves, down to the finer points of uniform details. However the formal foundation ceremony appeared to have been interrupted by the beginning of the war.


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