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SUPERB PAIR OF TUNICS BELONGING TO FAMOUS WW1 GERMAN ACE RUDOLF STARK, AUTHOR OF ‘WINGS OF WAR’ , ARTIST, WHO WAS ONE OF THE EARLY MEMBERS OF THE FLEDGLING SECRET GERMAN AIRFORCE HAVING JOINED IN 1933. A FOKKER DVII IN HIS MARKINGS GRACES THE COLLECTION OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
Born on 11th February 1897 to a military family, his father a Lieutenant Colonel in the Bavarian army, Rudolf joined the Army as a Cadet in 1910. By the start of WW1, he had joined the elite 2nd Bavarian Uhlan Regiment, serving as Junior Officer with this regiment in lothringen, Northern France and Flanders, Verdun, Kurland and Poland. During his service with the 2nd Uhlans, he was promoted Lieutenant in October 1915 and for gallantry, he was Awarded the Bavarian Military Merit Cross 2nd Class, Iron Cross 2nd Class and Bavarian Military Merit Order 4th Class. From May 1916, he Commanded the Regiments machine gun squadron.
In March 1917, Stark joined the German air service and after training, he was posted to FA(A) 296 on 18th September 1917. Clearly a good pilot, on 31st December 1817, he was sent for training as a fighter pilot and was posted to Jasta 34b on 18th January 1918. Stark scored five confirmed victories in the spring of 1918 and was Awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class in April. On 24th May, he joined Jasta 77b as Commander, scoring his sixth confirmed victory the day after he arrived. On 7 June, he was reassigned to Command of Jasta 35b where he remained until the end of the war. Stark scored a further five more confirmed victories. On 29th October 1918, Stark was honoured with the Award the Hohezollern House Order Knights Cross with Swords and ended the War being credited with 11 Confirmed and 5 unconfirmed aerial victories.
During his service as a fighter pilot, Stark flew Pfalz DIII’s and a Fokker Dr1 marked with a lilac coloured engine cowling and a lilac band on the fuselage. In August 1918 Jasta 35b were supplied with the new Fokker DVII fighter. Stark applied the same markings to his DVII
Post WW1, Stark flew for a while with Polizei-Fliegerstaffel 1 at Schleisshei and as a test-pilot for Dornier. After that he went to South Africa but returned to his Germany in 1926. Stark was a very talented artist and for the next few years he worked in the advertising industry producing advertisements, many of a comical nature. In 1933, Stark joined the secret German airforce with the rank of Oberleutnant; a very early member. His duties however were not as a pilot but in administration/command. By 1938 he was a Major in the Luftwaffe. During WW2, Stark commanded various airfields, in Germany, Athens and Italy. He was promoted lieutenant colonel on 1st August 1941 and was Awarded The Italian Commendatore dell'Ordine della Corona d'Italia. Stark was discharged from the service on 31st August 1944.
It is unknown what Stark did post War, he did stay in Munich, perhaps went back to working as an artist but he did keep a keen interest in WW1 aviation. Rudolf Stark died in 1982
In 1933 Stark wrote ‘Wings of War: an Airman's Diary of the Last Year of World War One’, among of the best accounts by a WW1 fighter pilot. He also produced a number of paintings relating to War service and in particular his paintings of aerial combat are some of the most realistic of the time and have been reproduced in many publications.
The above and the markings Stark’s Fokker DVII, make him one of the better known German Aces of WW1, indeed he is better known that some of the Pour Le Merite winners. Indeed the Fokker DVII in The National Museum of the United States Air Force, is painted in Stark’s colours.
Double-breasted tunic M1915," peace ulanka" Königliche Bayerische 2. Ulanen Regiment "König" (2nd Royal Bavarian Uhlan Regiment) belonging to Lieutenant Rudolf Stark.
Tunic is tailor made of fine field-gray cloth with 2nd Uhlan’s crimson-red stand-up collar, cord and polish cuffs, as well as silver buttons. Sewn in shoulder boards with crimson lining and the golden propeller pads of the flying troupe. Field gray damask lining with tailor label of "Schwarz & Sohn Munich" and owners label "Lieutenant Stark ... 28.4.1916".
Stark did not joining the aviation service until March 1917, awarded the pilot badge on 23rd November 1917. The fact that this tunic has had flieger insignia to the shoulder boards and loops for the pilot badge to the breast, shows Stark wore this tunic into at least mid April 1918. On 21st April 1918, Stark was Awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class and there are no loops for this on the tunic.
Condition is very good due to a few moth nips, mainly just below the buttons at the waist on the front of the tunic (see pics) and a couple of small 2 and 3mm ones. However bar this, there is almost none and overall condition would be excellent and shows very little wear
Tailor made Luftwaffe tunic by Christian Schwarz & Sohn, Munich. Made of blue gabardine and silver buttons. Lining is of black silk lining with hanger inside for dagger. Insignia consists of a silver embroidered breast eagle, War Merit Cross 2nd Class ribbon, silver collar cord, golden yellow collar with silver trim and stitched shoulder boards. To inside collar is the tailors label ‘Christian Schwarz & Sohn’ and to the inside pocket is the name tag ‘Obltn Stark’ and dated ‘XI 1933’. Above the left breast pocket are signs of medal bar attachment and below are loops for Stark’s Iron Cross 1st Class, Pilots badge and German Sports Badge; all show signs where the badges were attached.
Condition is good, tunic has been well worn, so their are wear marks and some minor moth nips. Lining is in excellent condition. Fold back cuffs have been altered and incorrectly reapplied making the arms far too long. Presumably this was done at a far later date for reason of repair prior to selling the tunic. The only thought could be the cuffs had mothing or damage, so the turn backs have been removed and reapplied directly to the arms, perhaps using cuffs from another of Star’s tunics. These cuffs could really do with being removed again and sewn back at a more acceptable length.
Dated November 1933, this is a very early Luftwaffe tunic and although it is often thought that Stark joined the Luftwaffe just prior to WW2, this confirms he actually joined far earlier with the rank of Oberleutnant (senior Lieutenant). Tunic has been well worn by Stark and insignia is of a later rank. The best explanation is Stark wore this in the 1930’s and then went back to wearing it later in WW2. Why would he do this, perhaps just necessity? Its obviously a good quality tailored tunic but its very large indeed when compared to his WW1 tunic, indeed it doesn’t seem possible they could belong same owner. However unpublished photos of Stark in Luftwaffe uniform, show he had put on a huge amount of weight between WW1 and the 1930’s, so his tunic size went up accordingly.
Collar Rank insignia is that of Oberstleutnant (Lt Colonel), shoulder rank Oberst (Colonel). The two rank pips are of a slightly different style, again suggesting the tunic had been upgraded. Stark had attained the rank of major prior to WW2 and Oberstleutnant in 1941. The rank of Oberst is unconfirmed but its certainly possible he attained this rank by the time he left the service. The tunic is certainly Stark’s, so it would make no sense to add the extra rank pips unless he was entitled, especially as these additions add questions that would otherwise be unnecessary.
It seems Christian Schwarz & Sohn of Munich was Rudolf Stark’s preferred tailor that he used for his entire military service in WW1 and WW2. Not only are both these tunics by this tailor but about 18 years ago I obtained another of Stark’s tunic; his 1915 Litewka tunic. Both collar and inside pocket name labels were the same as the two tunics for offer now and all had a similar degree of moth nips. That tunic is now in the collection in New Zealand.
WW1 SERVICE IN DETAIL:
18 September 1910: Kadetten-Korps, Munich.
13 August 1914: Ersatz-squadron des Kgl. Bayerischen 2. Ulanen-Regiment "König"
21 August 1914: 2. Ulanen-Regiment/4.squadron
30 September 1914: Fähnrich
25 October 1915: Leutnant
5 May 1916: In charge of Machine gun squadron
26 March 1917: FEA1 at Schleißheim
14 April 1917: Fliegerschule 1
18 September 1917: FA(A) 296
31 December 1917:
8 January 1918: Jasta 34b
24 May 1918: Command of Jasta 77b
8 June 1918: Command of Jasta 35b
29 November 1915: Bavarian Military Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords
16 January 1916: Iron Cross 2nd Class
7 September 1916: Bavarian Military Merit Order 4th Class with Swords
23 November 1917: Pilot Badge
21 April 1918: Iron Cross 2nd Class
29 October 1918; Hohezollern House Order Knights Cross with Swords (this always left out of published biographies)
3 August 1922: Goldenen Hochzeits-Erinnerungsmünze Ludwig III
POST WW1 AWARDS:
Front Fighter Honor Cross
1938 Anschluss Medal
1938 Sudetenland Medal
War Merit Cross 2nd Class
Sports badge (DRA)
4 Year Long Service Medal
12 Year Long Service
Commendatore dell'Ordine della Corona d'Italia(Commanders Cross)
23 Mar 1918
24 Mar 1918
W of Barleux
30 Mar 1918
E of Vaire
04 Apr 1918
04 Apr 1918
S of Hamelet
19 May 1918
25 May 1918
W of Gentelles
28 May 1918
01 Jun 1918
01 Jul 1918
NW of Arras
09 Aug 1918
12 Sep 1918
13 Sep 1918
15 Sep 1918
15 Sep 1918
09 Nov 1918
E of Bavai Wood
A rare opportunity to own a tunics work by one of the best known German Aces of WW1. Note, although not WW1, Stark’s Luftwaffe tunic is a continuation of his aviation service and as such it would be nice to keep them together, especially as the value of the group is in the WW1 tunic. Alone the WW2 one would be a fraction of the cost. Both tunics and a very large number of other items of Stark’s were sold in German in 2017-18. These were the only two tunics in the collection.
NOTE– COURIER SHIPPING AND INSURANCE IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICEIE NO EXTRA COST TO BUYER (APPROXIMATELY£160 WORLDWIDE)
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