Egon Radeck
Home Up General Student Ju52 A Brit's view Egon Radeck Interrogation Report Pilot's diary

 

 

The following is a biography of one of the Paratroops who jumped on Crete, Egon Radeck, supplied by his granddaughter, for which I am very grateful.
All photos are the copyright of Nanette Murphy
Egon Konrad Radeck was born in Dresden on the 27th of September, 1921.  He was an only child. His father was an Architect and his mother, a printer.
 
In his later years Egon described how, during war time Germany, the loud speakers in the streets put out a constant barrage of political comment and propaganda.  Germany was at war, and men were being conscripted.  Egon began his trade as a 'Fitter and Turner' at the age of 14 in Dresden.
 
At the time of being conscripted in 1940,  at age 19, he was a tradesman.  He chose to enter the Luftwaffe, but had a preference for the Fallschirmjager (paratroops) primarily because of the higher pay rates.  It was not easy to be accepted into the paratroops.  Selection was tough and all men had to undergo a rigorous selection process that included not only demonstration of physical strength but also intelligence and commitment.

Egon Radeck

Egon was involved in one of the first paratroop campaigns in Holland, he also fought in Crete, Corinth, France and Russia.  In France, Egon was wounded by shrapnel and later was awarded the 'Black Wound Badge'.  After his time in Russia, he was sent to Hamburg to retrain as a lorry driver.  After his training, Egon was sent to Belgium where, towards the end of the war, he was captured by the American and English forces.
After being released from the British POW camp, and returned to Germany, Egon decided to go to Hamburg, to try and link up with a young woman (his future wife, Wilma Voss) who he had met one year before.  She had not heard from him in a year...but she remembered him...and his forward and frank nature. 

Egon, on left, while training

One year before he had spotted her in a bakery where she worked.  She used to issue him, at times, a little more than rations allowed.  After all, he was a striking, good looking soldier in uniform and she was a young woman.  At any rate, he had spotted her and had decided to give her a gift and to also let her know of his attraction to her.  He purchased a small card with the Virgin Mary cradling the Christ child in her arms.  On the back of this card he wrote, "I wish to have many children with you"...and he passed this card over the counter of the bakery shop, to her, with a smile and a grin.  They fell in love...but he had to leave ,to return to the front.  She did not hear from him for some time and did not know if he was still alive

5th from the left - looking down into the plane.  He told a story once whereby he accidentally got on the wrong plane - late or something...the plane that he was meant to board was blown out of the sky

As it turned out, both he and she met up again in Hamburg. The war was over.   He returned to her house and buzzed the door bell.  From over the balcony she saw him and her heart leapt with joy.  They were married the day after her 21st birthday,  unable to be married beforehand, for no one was alive or contactable in her family to consent to the marriage (the age of consent was 21).

Egon in uniform

A short time after their marriage, they decided to return to Dresden, thinking that life may have been a little easier there.  It wasn't.  At one stage, Egon was captured by border guards and had his papers confiscated, making it impossible for him to return to his love in Dresden.  It was decided that she would cross the border and return to Hamburg.  In places she crawled on her pregnant stomach to avoid border guards, but she made it back to him.

Egon training with machine-gun

At this time, Egon was employed by the occupying forces to drive trucks.  This is how he met an American officer, who told him about migration to Canada.  Given that things were so hard in Germany for Egon, his wife and young family, it was decided that they would make enquiries about migration.

At the 'Migration Office', Egon was told that he had too many children (4 by this time) to migrate to Canada.  However, it was possible for them to go to Australia.  There were no limits for migration to this country.  Neither Egon nor his wife knew anything about Australia, nor did they speak English.  But they decided to take the plunge and to migrate to a country that his wife thought still had 'savages and cannibals' within it. 

Egon, training

They traveled by boat to Perth, Western Australia and then by train to Townsville, Queensland.  A journey made more difficult by the fact that they had a young family of four children, all under 6 years of age.  At Townsville, Egon undertook studies at Townsville State High School and the family lived in a migration camp.  When he successfully completed his course in English, so as to be recognized for his trade qualifications in Australia, Egon was employed in sugar mills throughout North Queensland.

Believe Egon is on the left

Egon and his wife (Wilma Radeck nee Voss) raised 8 children together.  Wilma claims that it was 'love at first sight' and that he was 'the love of her life'.  His dream to have many children with his love most certainly came true.  At the time of his death on January 22nd, 2002, Egon had been blessed with 24 grandchildren and 18 great-grand children.

"From his achievements we seek to gain inspiration and courage to meet the trials and tribulations of our own lives.  May you, Opa,  enjoy your eternal rest and the rewards that you have earned" - Grandaughter, Nanette Murphy nee Radeck.

On the right, Egon & Wilma, new arrivals in Australia, to start a new life.

Egon, in a nightclub in Hamburg, the "Ballhaus Trichter" in the St Pauli district.  In the photograph Egon is wearing the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd class (EK1 and EK2).  He was most likely awarded these (although not yet confirmed) for his service on Crete as 2./FJR2 and had a very hard time there (against the Australians).  He is also wearing a black wound badge, indicating one wound requiring treatment by a Field Hospital.

A little history of what happened to the nightclub.  
On the night of 3/4/05.1942, 81 aircraft (43 Wellingtons, 20 Halifaxes, 13 Stirlings, 5 Hampdens) were dispatched to Hamburg.  The city was completely cloud covered, so only 54 a/c bombed on estimated position.  It started 113 fires (57 large) burning out a larger entertainment palace, a theatre and cinema (Reeperbahn area) a dockside warehouse.  77 people killed, 243 injured, 1624 bombed out.  The raid was the 100th anniversary of a large fire in Hamburg. 
After the war the "Trichter" as well as the rest of Reeperbahn was rebuilt and the Trichter was active until 1958