Leutnant Fritz Rumey (3 March 1891 – 27 September 1918) Pour le Mérite, Golden Military Merit Cross was a German fighter pilot in the First World War, credited with 45 victories. He was one of only five German soldiers who won both of the highest German awards for valor, the Military Merit Cross and the Pour le Mérite.

Fritz Rumey
Fritz Rumey
Born(1891-03-03)3 March 1891
Königsberg, Germany
Died27 September 1918(1918-09-27) (aged 27)
Neuville-Saint-Rémy, France
Allegiance German Empire
Service/branch Luftstreitkräfte
Years of service1914–1918
UnitFlieger-Abteilung (Artillerie) 19,
Jagdstaffel Boelcke,
Jagdstaffel 5
AwardsPour le Mérite;
Military Merit Cross
Iron Cross

Early life


Fritz Rumey was born on 3 March 1891 in Königsberg, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire.[1]

Military service


He joined the pre-war the Prussian 45th Infantry regiment as an infantryman. During the first year of WWI he saw action against the Russian Army on the Eastern Front and was decorated with the Iron Cross 2nd class. Subsequently in August 1915 he applied for aviation duty and completed an observer's course and served with Fliegerabteilung (Artillerie) 219. Later he was accepted for pilot training and when he completed his training, he was sent to France in early 1917, serving for a brief period with Jasta Boelcke, and then went to Jagdstaffel 5 on 10 June 1917.[1] He served as a Vizefeldwebel, along with Josef Mai and Otto Könnecke, two other enlisted pilots. These three friends flew together and scored many of the squadron's 250 successes. In addition to Rumey's 45 eventual confirmed victories, Mai was credited with 30 confirmed and 15 unconfirmed,[2] and Könnecke with 35 more.[3] They were nicknamed "The Golden Triumvirate".[4][better source needed]

Rumey had his own personal livery painted on his airplane in addition to the squadron colors of a red nose and a green tail edged in red. The remainder of the fuselage, and the wings, were swirled with alternating black and white stripes. Smaller surfaces, such as wheel covers, wheel struts, and cabanes were alternately white and black. Another personal marking on the aircraft he used was a demon's head.[5]

Rumey's first victim was a British observation balloon, flamed on 6 July 1917. The following day, he received the Military Merit Cross. [1] His third was over British ace Captain Gerald Crole of No. 43 Squadron RFC, who was taken prisoner.[6][better source needed] Rumey was wounded on 25 August 1917, and again on 24 September. By year's end he was credited with five victories.[1]

Rumey continued to accrue single victories throughout the first half of 1918. He killed ace Lt. James Dawe of No. 24 Squadron on 7 June 1918,[7][better source needed] for his 23rd claim. This same day he was commissioned as a leutnant. He brought down and killed Canadian ace Lt. Edward Carter Eaton on 26 June 1918.[1]

With 29 victories to his credit, Leutnant Rumey received the coveted Pour le Mérite on 10 July 1918.[1] This made him one of only five pilots to have received both this award and the Golden Military Merit Cross.[citation needed] He went scoreless in August but in September, shot down 16 aircraft.[1]



Rumey was killed in action on 27 September 1918, during a dogfight over Neuville-Saint-Rémy, France. It is believed his plane collided with a British Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5a flown by G. E. B. Lawson. Rumey plunged to his death when his parachute failed to open.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Franks, Bailey & Guest (1993), pp. 193-194
  2. ^ Franks, Bailey & Guest (1993), p. 160
  3. ^ Franks, Bailey & Guest (1993), p. 148
  4. ^ Brooks Aviation Art website [1] Retrieved 19 September 2020
  5. ^ Franks (2000) pp. 22, 93
  6. ^ The Aerodrome website page on Crole [2] Retrieved on 19 September 2020
  7. ^ The Aerodrome website on Dawe [3] Retrieved on 19 September 2020
  • Franks, Norman; Bailey, Frank W.; Guest, Russell (1993). Above the Lines: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service, and Flanders Marine Corps, 1914-1918. London, UK: Grub Street. ISBN 978-0948817731.
  • Franks, Norman (2000). Albatros Aces of World War I. Aircraft of the Aces 32. London, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1855329607.

Further reading

  • Franks, Norman & Van Wyngarden, Greg (2004). Fokker D VII Aces of World War I: Part 2. London, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1841767291.