• August 1914 in Frankfurt

    At the beginning of August 1914, Germany mobilised for war. In Frankfurt, the twenty-year old Herbert Sulzbach exulted in the 'magnificent enthusiasm and superb mood' around him.

    On 3 August, he enrolled as a volunteer with the 63rd artillery unit in Frankfurt and his brother-in-law went as a staff medical officer in the naval reserve to Wilhelmshaven. Georg Anton Franz von Boxberger was then 37 years old and had been married to Herbert's elder sister, Lili, for twenty months. That August, Lili was twenty-three years old and they had a ten-month old baby boy.

    During the night of 3 August, a French plane flew over Frankfurt and the following day Herbert noted that,

    'The organisation and mobilisation are going like clockwork. There is a hatred against Russia and France. Holland, Switzerland and Belgium are neutral. England's position is ambiguous. There would be deadly sea battles.'

    He spent the evenings with his girlfriend 'and the days with my deeply affected parents. The town is sorrowful and solemn, and full of patriotism.' His elder brother, Ernst, enrolled with the 9th Hussars at Strasburg.

    Herbert was fitted with his uniform on 10 August and had his photo taken with his girlfriend in a studio at Rossmarkt 5. 'Me as a recruit'. He and his friends didn't even know how to salute and it all seemed a bit of a lark. Georg was at sea on 'SMS Ariadne'.

    On the evening of 29 August Herbert Sulzbach was spending a last farewell evening with his parents and sister when the news came.

    'The most terrible day in the world. Georg is dead. The Ariadne sank after a heroic battle. Lili and everyone is inconsolable.'

    So on 30 August 1914 Herbert Sulzbach went to war. There was a sympathetic telegram from the captain of the Ariadne and Georg's death was honourably mentioned in dispatches, but a saddened Herbert initially found it difficult to participate in the 'terrific morale' and patriotic enthusiasm of his friends at the barracks.

    (photo: on 6 September 1914 the local newspaper records the death of Georg von Boxberger [centre])

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