Lemke, Wilhelm, born 21-09-1920 in Arnswalde, the son of a civil servant, joined the military service of the Luftwaffe as a Fahnenjunker (cadet) on 15-11-1939. Following fighter pilot training, he was promoted to Leutnant (second lieutenant) on 01-04-1941. Lemke was posted to a front-line unit in 1941, almost two years after the start of World War II. His unit was 9. Staffel (squadron) of the Jagdgeschwader 3, under Oberstleutnant Max Ibel, based on the Eastern front. Oberfähnrich Lemke was assigned to 8./JG 3, under command of Hauptmann Walter “Gulle” Oesau, . In preparation for Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, JG 3 under the command of Major Günther Lützow was relocated east. Lemke claimed two Soviet Tupolev SB-2 bombers shot down on 26-06-1941—his first aerial victories. He was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class (Eisernes Kreuz zweiter Klasse) on 04-07-1941 and Iron Cross 1st Class on 20-07. Lemke had recorded 15 victories, when he was shot down in combat with Russian bombers, sustaining an abdominal injury on 26 August. He made an emergency landing in Bf 109 F-2 “Black 7” but the injuries received in this incident required a long stay in hospital. He returned to his unit in mid-February 1942. On 31 March, Lemke recorded his 20th victory. His 30th victory was achieved on 24 June. He claimed four victories on 29 July to take his victory total to 42. On 19 September, Leutnant Lemke was awarded the Ritterkreuz for 59 Victories. However, he was shot down the same day by enemy flak necessitating an emergency landing in Bf 109 F-4 “Yellow 1” with 60% damage 4km west of Gumrak. He was uninjured in the incident. On 11-08-1942, Lemke had been appointed Staffelkapitän of 9./JG 3. By the end of 1942, he had recorded 90 victories, including a Russian LaGG-3 fighter by ramming on 27-12-1942, necessitating an emergency landing at Morosowskaja with Bf 109 G-2 “Yellow 7” sustaining 50% damage, and numerous tanks and military vehicles in ground attacks. He claimed his 100th victory on 16-03-1943. Lemke was afforded two months leave in May 1943. On his return, he recorded his 125th victory on 28 July. In August 1943, III./JG 3 was transferred to the Western front to undertake Reichsverteidigung, defend of the Fatherland, duties. Lemke shot down two USAAF P-47 fighters on 17-08-1943. On 4 November, Lemke was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG 3 . Hauptmann Lemke was awarded the Eichenlaub (Nr 338) on 25 November. He recorded his 131st and last, victory on 30 November when he shot down a P-47. On 04-12-1943,
Death and burial ground of Lemke, Wilhelm.
On 04-12-1943 Lemke was shot down and killed in aerial combat with P-47s of 487th Fighter Squadron , 352nd Fighter Group , USAAF. His Bf 109 G-6 “Black”, crashed at Dodewaard, 18km west Nijmegen, (see About). Wilhelm Lemke is credited with 131 victories. He recorded 125 victories over the Eastern Front, including 28 Il-2 Sturmovik ground attack aircraft. Of his six Western front victories, three were four-engine bombers. Lemke age 23 is buried on the war cemetery Ysselstein, 32.000 graves, in Holland, together with the personalities, Generalmajor der Infanterie, Feldkommandeur der 642th in Arnhem, Friedrich Kussin, the first killed German General during Operation Market Garden
, Generalmajor der Infanterie, Kommandeur der 376th Infanterie Regiment, Oskar von der Hagen, Flyer aces Hauptmann, Captain of the 7th Squadron, August Geiger, Oberleutnant of 3./NJG1 Paul Gildner, SS Obergruppenführer, Kommandeur Fallschirm Jäger Regiment 9, Friedrich Alpers. Major, Kommandeur III./N.J.G. 1, flyer ace, Egmond Prinz zur Lippe Weissenfeld, Major, Kommandeur I./N.J.G. 100, flyer ace Heinrich Prinz zur Sayn Wittgenstein, Oberleutnant, Fliegerass, 24 victories, Helmut Woltersdorf, Oberleutnant, in the 26th Jagdgeschwader , Air Fighter Squadron, Karl Willius.