Story This Week: The Letters of Reichsbahnsekretär Franz Alois Lemmen

This week we continue our story of Reichsbahnsekretär Franz Alois Lemmen, brought to us by his granddaughter Beatrix Braun of Ettlingen.

As we mentioned in the previous post, Franz was a prolific writer and thanks to his job as a secretary and protocolist of doctors' reports, he also worked on a typewriter at the Front. Apart from his work, he also used the typewriter to type up his poems, which he sent home to his family. Two of Franz's poems are shown below.

This is a poem that Franz wrote for his father on his birthday.
I've translated the middle verse, which is very moving:

Und weiter dröhnt der Donner der Kanonen,
Und weiter wird des Kampfes Ringen geh'n,
Bis all' die Mühen und der vielen Opfer lohnen,
Uns bringen wird den Frieden, das gesunde Wiedersehn.

And the thunder of the canons drones on,
And the fighting will ring out and on,
Until all our sacrifices and our efforts have been made worthwhile,
And we will be brought peace and our safe reunion.

Franz wrote this poem to his wife Julia (Julchen) for her birthday.

We believe that these are the studs from the epaulettes of Franz's uniform.

As we saw in the last post, Franz was awarded a number of medals. Shown here is the silver "Verdienst" (service) medal that Franz was awarded on March 12, 1915.

Together with the medal, he was also presented with this accompanying certificate from the Grand Duke of Baden (Grossherzog von Baden).

It states that Franz belonged to the 8th Infantry Division No. 169 of Baden in Germany. This was a unit of the Prussian/German army, made up almost entirely of troops from the Grand Duchy of Baden, formed in Karlsruhe in 1871.

The Grand Duchy of Baden was the state to which Ettlingen belonged, and it existed between 1806 and 1918.

On April 14, 1915, Franz was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.
This is a photo of his handwritten "Bestallungsurkunde" - the certificate of appointment to the rank of Sergeant.

On July 25, 1918, Franz was awarded the "Verwundetenabzeichen in schwarz" - the "Wound Badge" or "Purple Heart".

By this time Franz was in the 52nd Infantry Division and was classed as a civil servant ("Beamtenstellvertreter").

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