Wolfgang von Gronau, born 25-02-1893, Berlin, in a family hailing from the ancient dynasty of the House of Berg. Hans Wolfgang was the son of artillery General der Artillerie, Hans Johann Karl Hermann von Gronau (1850–1940) and Luise Gerischer (1867–1926).
Right before World War I he joined the Imperial German Navy where he was put in charge of a flying boat squadron. After the disbandment of the imperial military in 1919 von Gronau had reached the rank of Oberleutnant zur See, highest leutnant grade in the German Navy.
On 18-08-1930 von Gronau flew on a transatlantic flight on a Dornier Wal —the old D-1422 flying boat that Amundsen had flown earlier. He took off from Sylt (Germany) through Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and Labrador, reaching New York City
after covering 7,520 km (4,670 mi) in 47 flight hours.
On 21-07-1932, age 39, von Gronau flew from Germany around the world on another Dornier Wal flying boat —named “Grönland Wal” (Greenland Whale) D-2053
— with a crew of three people. He returned 111 days later, on 10 November, after having taken off from List auf Sylt westwards across Iceland, Greenland, Canada, the Aleutians, Alaska, the Kurils, Japan, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malacca, Burma, Ceylon, India, Iran, Iraq, Cyprus, Greece and Italy, landing finally in the Lake of Constance after having covered over 44,000 km (27,000 mi).
In 1934 he became the president of the Aeroclub von Deutschland and in 1935 Vicepresident of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale . On 29-03-1935, he married Hertha Seelmann-Mirow in Berlin. On 01-03-1936, he joined as reserve captain in the reserve of Hermann Goering‘s Luftwaffe . On August 01-08-1937, the promotion to the Major of the Reserve followed. On January 01-01-1939, he was reactivated in the Luftwaffe and commanded as a Oberst the Lehr squadron Greifswald.From 15-04-1939, he served as Air Force Attaché at the Embassy in Tokyo. On 01-01-1940 he was promoted to colonel and on 01-07-1943 Generalmajor. Transferred to the Führer Reserve of the Luftwaffe High Command on 27-01-1945, he was interned in Japan on 08-05-1945 during the German surrender. After the Japanese surrender, he was on 16-08-1945 in American captivity, from which he was released on 30-11-1947, age 54.. He returned to Germany and settled in Bavaria.
Death and burial ground of Gronau, Hans Wolfgang.
In 1947 von Gronau moved to Upper Bavaria. He died in Frasdorf on 17-03-1977 while he was living in retirement. His remains were buried on the local cemetery of List auf Sylt, close to the tomb of his wife.