Albert Otto Walter Mayer was born on April 24th, 1892, in Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt. His family moved to Mulhouse, Alsace when he was only a young boy.

He enlisted in the Imperial German army in 1912 when he was 20 years old. By 1914, he was a Leutnant in his local cavalry unit, the Jäger Regt-zu-Pferd Nr 5 part of the 29th Cavalry Brigade of the 29th Infantry Division, and was garrisoned in Mulhouse.

On mid-morning on August 2, 1914, Mayer led a patrol into France a day before war had been officially declared. The German patrol encountered a French group who got word of the German patrol and intended to arrest them. In response Mayer ordered to open fire, only to get shot in the stomach and head. The first casualty of WWI.

After the skirmish Mayer's body was brought taken to a barn on the Doucourt farm. Mayer was buried with full military honors in Joncherey on 3 August. His body was later moved to the German military cemetery at Illfurth near Mulhouse where it remains in a specially-marked grave commemorating ‘1st German Casualty of the World War 1914-18' His helmet was retrieved from the spot where he fell and is on display in the Musée de l'Armée in Paris.

Battle vs. Henry Gunther (by LB&SCR)


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