This Week's Story: Unteroffizier Franz Metzger

Our story this week comes from Andrea Metzger-Adolf of Ettlingen Town, whose grandfather Franz Metzger served as an Unteroffizier in the Great War.

Franz was born in 1898 and signed up voluntarily at the outbreak of war on August 6, 1914, when he was just 16 years old.

Franz Metzger in 1914

Franz lived with his parents, Johann and Elise, who were the landlords of the "Jagdhaus" inn in Ettlingen.

He joined up together with his father, Johann, who was 44 at the outbreak of war.

Franz was first sent to the military training ground at Döberitz near Berlin. From here, he sent his parents the photo on the left, the first of him in his new uniform. During training, he was assigned to the Reserve Infantry Regiment 111, as we can see from the inscription on his helmet.

On the back, he writes: "I'm sending you my photo, but it didn't turn out very well. Did you send my parcel yet? Please send it straight away if not".

Franz on leave

After completing his training, Franz was assigned to the Infanterie-Regiment 27, 2nd Maschinengewehrkompanie (machine gun company), which was subordinate to the 211th Infantry Division and the 7th Division. In the first two years of the war, Franz served at the Western Front in Flanders and Artois, and later at the Somme, the Aisne, Champagne and at the Ailette.

He earned three medals: the Iron Cross II, the Silver "Verdienst-Medaille" (for service) and the Frontkämpfer-Ehrenkreuz (Combatants' Honor Cross).

Franz was lucky enough to return home without injuries at the end of the war. He was discharged on January 10, 1919.

After the war, Franz learned the trade of stoker and worked for the Papierfabrik Vogel and Bernheimer in Ettlingen, a paper factory.

He died on August 12, 1979 in Ettlingen.

Franz is shown in the photo on the left together with his father and his sister Marie.

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