Philipp Lang

Co. 67

Philipp Lang

•Philipp Lang was born at September 18, 1893 in Trebur, Germany.

•He went to basic school in Gross-Gerau until he was eleven years old. When he finished, he went to High school in Darmstadt. He finished school in spring 1913 and studied electrochemistry at the University of Darmstadt. Since the age of eleven, he lived at the house of Heinrich Sames and his wife Magarete as an adopted child.

•After failing to join the artillery regiment as a volunteer, Philipp gets into the 81st regiment in the third company. He died in the Battle of Champagne on September 25th 1915.

A Letter from Philipp

Dear Uncle & Aunt.

I have received your package (hard-spirit cooker, spare battery & chocolate). Too bad I did not have it in the shelter. But it will not be long before we will be back at the front. I can have a cup of coffee or meat in my free time. Thanks for all the good and useful stuff I have received so far from you. We are now here 15 km. behind the front line, in retirement position. We gained another 50 men, replacements from Mainz. In some cases, it is more pleasant here than in the Schützengraben. We have rest and a warm meal at night.

The one-year-olds (officer Aspirants) still have special drills. It is more severe. You sweat more than in the ditch, but the nerves are more restful. In the 14th day we had four dead and several wounded in the company. We were greeted with shrapnel as soon as we entered the trenches, but happily no one was hit.

At noon, on the day of Pentecost, I went out with a comrade to the post, the farthest to the front, about thirty meters from the enemy. Barely an hour later the Franzmanns opened fire on us. A bullet passed by my head to my comrade, he was the first victim. I had to leave the post alone for almost an hour, which was awful. At this post alone, we had two dead and three wounded. We had to go to the post every 2 - 4 hours. And so it went on for 14 days. That strengthens the nerves.

Twice the French tried to blow us up; But without the desired success, the entire region trembled, and it resembled a strong earthquake; But not strong enough to destroy our dugouts and ditches. The main attack from the French are their missiles. They are hurled up to 400 m and explode with an enormous bang. However, our men can see them fly, and can usually quickly get to safety. They mostly flew over the first ditch.

Now it’s almost exclusively hand grenades and gunfire. Of course, we hurled hand grenades too, with more success than the Franzmanns. These hand grenades must be held for four seconds, and then thrown out. One of our men was torn to pieces by his own grenade; He had held it too long in his hand.

We were glad when the 3rd of June arrived. On the evening of this day we were to be relieved. It was possible that the Franzmänner noticed something, because at 6 o'clock they started a fire attack until 1 o'clock. Hand grenades whizzed over and over. The attack was a failure. At 1 o'clock we were then relieved; To get out safely we evacuated as fast as possible. From behind came some shrapnel. At Cerney we got warm coffee.

At five o'clock we came happily to Chalorange. We are now lying in a room on straw bags, which are much more beautiful than in the shelter. Every evening the regimental music plays. This morning we had field worship. But unfortunately, this life will not last long, then we go back to the front again.

What we missed most was hot food and drinking water. We had to eat cold meat. No fire could be made due to smoke development.

That’s all for today! Best regards Your nephew Philipp

My Story

my adopted soldier...........from a german view

When you are travelling through Belgium, you see craters everywhere.

We visited so many soldier graves and after a while you realise that every stone stands for a life, a lost life.

The way of remembering is a different way in Germany. German cemeteries are more peaceful than the British ones, those are more glorious.

The hardest experience was the visit to the German trench “Bayernwald”, this is a place where you exactly know that men slept, ate, lived and died here.

At the beginning I was sceptic, but after all it was a great experience and a big step forward for the international friendship in Europe.