Early Luftwaffe Sommerfliegerkombi. Battle of Britain Me109 Pilot and Knights Cross Winner
An excellent example of an early Luftwaffe one-piece step-in Sommerfliegerkombi flying issued to Knights Cross winner and Battle of Britain Me109 Pilot, Lagois ('Fred' Ehrenfried)
Made in a light brown and white flecked cotton fabric, known as “Salt and pepper” it has a turn-down collar with a leather strap fastening, diagonal zipper opening to the front, horizontal zipper fly at the crotch (indicative of the earlier type), zip openings at the arm and leg cuffs and a button-down flap over the right shoulder.
To the left torso is a long concealed vertical opening over which a pointed button flap is secured, covering a quick release ring-pull, linked to a length of cord on the inside which is held in place by brown lacing. Pulling this allows the suit to be taken off quickly in an emergency. The label of the suit’s manufacture Karl Heisler is in place alongside.
At each knee is a horizontal zip pocket across the front while at either side of the waist is a vertical zip opening allowing access to the interior. Stitched to the centre of the chest is a double vertical loop of brown leather, intended for the attachment of the oxygen mask hose clips. Inside there is a military issue name tag to Lagois.
The suit is in virtually unissued condition with just one small hole to the back of the right leg. All zips are original, operate perfectly and are without damage, however, five of the runners and pulls have been replaced and fitted to the original zips, original zinc runner having always been susceptible to facture.
Lagois 'Fred' Ehrenfried joined the Luftwaffe in November 1939 and flew as part of Lehrgeschwader 2 during the Battles of France and Britain, being shot down in the former. I.(Schl)./LG 2 did not take part in the early phases of the Battle of Britain, and was mooted to convert into a 'true' dive-bomber unit equipped with the Junkers Ju 87. However II Gruppe had proved the viability of the battlefield assault concept enough to be converted to the new Bf 109 E-4B fighter-bomber, with the capability to carry one SC-250 kg bomb or four SC-50 kg bombs. Training took place at Böblingen.
Based at Saint-Omer in France as part of Luftflotte 2, II.(Schl)./LG 2 started operations on 6 September 1940, losing two aircraft to flak over the Thames Estuary. With no direct Army offensive to support, the unit modified its type of operation, and through the winter and into the spring of 1941 kept up a series of sporadic nuisance raids against targets in England, suffering over a dozen aircraft losses.
From 1942 he was a member of I Gruppe, Schlachtgeschwader 1, flying ground attack operations on the Eastern Front, and was awarded the German Cross (Deutsches Kreuz) in gold later that year. Having amassed over 600 combat flights in March 1944, Oberfeldwebel Lagois, then of 5 Staffel, Schlachtgeschwader 2 'Immelmann', was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.
Lagois was killed the following month when his Fw 190 was hit by friendly kriegsmarine anti-aircraft fire near the Khersonyes airfield in Crimea, causing his aircraft to crash into the Black Sea. His body was never recovered.
The last two images show Oberfeldwebel Lagois and are not included in the sale