Werner Seeliger was born on 2 April 1917 as the second son of Frieda and Adolf Seeliger in the small town of Kerzdorf in Lower Silesia, two kilometers from the the county seat Lauban on the Queiss River. He and his brother Paul grew up in Lauban. Werner was a good athlete but was also interested in music, playing the piano, organ and saxophone. He attended secondary school and got his Abitur (A-levels) then started studying education to become a teacher.
He was drafted in late 1938 or early 1939. He joined the Luftwaffe because he had been interested in aviation and flying for years. When the war started he was already in pilot’s school with the 1st Company, 16 Aviation Battalion in Neumünster. It was during his tour at the military airfield in Pütnitz near the Baltic Sea met Liesbeth Richter, his future fiancée. Werner graduated from pilot’s training and was sent to Naval Aviation Squadron 1 / 196 which assigned pilots to the aircraft for the Kriegsmarine. In 1941 he came on board the Bismarck as the pilot of the Arado Ar 196 with the call code T3+MK. The first two of the four Ar 196’s were taken on in mid March in the Kiel Scheer Harbor. The second two came on 2 April, Werner’s 24th birthday.
In less than three years Werner had been promoted from Private to Technical Sergeant, and – more important - he had gotten his wings. His observer on T3+MK was Lieutenant Martin Lange, and the two went through training session on board and trail flights during the six weeks before the Bismarck put out on Operation Rheinübung.
Werner Seeliger went down with the Bismarck on 27 May at the age of 24. His fiancée and family kept hoping that he had survived, but in vain.
Aviation and Civilian Personnel
Fleet Staff, Fleet Observer Group, Prize Crews and Combat Correspondents
You can read the story of Technical Sergeant Werner Seeliger in our new book "Schlachtschiff Bismarck – Das wahre Gesicht eines Schiffes" Volume 3 starting at page 372.
Beside that 436 pages with the stories of many other Stokers from the Bismarck are waiting for be read.