This Week: Gefreiter Otto Weber

Our story this week is brought to us by Notburga Felber of Ettlingen-Spessart. Notburga's grandfather  on her mother's side, Otto Weber, served as a Private in the Great War.

Otto Weber in 1914

Otto was born on March 31, 1892 and had a twin brother, Franz.
Both Franz and Otto joined the 1st Badisches Leibgrenadier-Regiment 109 at the outbreak of war in 1914. The 109 was the highest-ranking and grandest regiment in Baden, the state in which Ettlingen was located, and was the local regiment of Karlsruhe, Ettlingen's nearest city. The head of the regiment was Grand Duke Friedrich II of Baden.

Otto and his twin brother
Franz in the field

Otto was stationed at the Western Front in France. His first battles were at Metz in August 1914, and he later fought all along the Western Front, including Arras, Flanders, Champagne, the Somme, Reims and Chemin-des-Dames.

It was probably during the latter part of 1917 or early 1918 that Otto suffered gas poisoning. The use of poisonous gas by both sides was widespread during the Great War, particularly on the Western Front.

Upon returning home from the War, Otto married his sweetheart Anna, with whom he had three daughters, including Notburga's mother. However, even though he continued to work, he suffered from the ill effects of the gas poisoning for the rest of his life.

A postcard from the Front from Otto to his neighbor Luise, dated September 22, 1917. He writes, "At last I've found time to send you a photo. I trust you're well, as I am. I hope that we will see each other again soon".

Otto in the field

Otto died aged 47 on May 9, 1939, shortly before the outbreak of World War II, from the effects of the gas poisoning.

No comments: