Story Of The Week: Unteroffizier Rudolf Kessler

Our story this week comes from Rolf Kessler of Ettlingen Town, whose father Rudolf Kessler served as an Unteroffizier in the Badische Leib-Grenadier Regiment 109 in the Great War. This regiment belonged to the XIVth Infantry Corps and was the local regiment of Karlsruhe, Ettlingen's nearest city.

Rudolf was born on April 29, 1897 and went to school at the Kant Gymnasium in Karlsruhe. Upon leaving school, he joined the military and was called up to fight in 1916.

Rudolf Kessler, 1897-1962
Served as an Unteroffizier on the Western Front near Verdun

Some of Rudolf's personal possessions from the Great War, including his boots and a hand grenade, can be viewed here under Memorabilia

After a period of training at the recruit training center at Heuberg, Rolf was sent to the Western Front. He was severely injured twice: once with two shots in his upper arm and shell splinters in his lower leg, and once at the beginning of 1918 with a head injury behind his ear. The second time, he remembered that the medic who fetched him said "He won't make it". He was admitted to the lazaret, where he remained until the end of the war.

Rudolf died in 1962.

The Leib-Grenadiers at the barracks in Karlsruhe

Eyes right
Early one morning in a field on the Western Front
The troops march past commanding officers

Rudolf writes as a caption to this photo, dated December 3, 1917:
"Our storm troops before driving out on a reconnaissance mission at Kanonenberg. The x shows our regiment commander".

The regiment commander was General von Stein who is standing to the right of this photo, above the x

Rudolf was awarded the silver "Verdienst" medal (service medal) on November 12, 1917.

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

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

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