Born 20 July 1892 in Mannheim, Germany, Emil Meinecke began his flying training under pioneer flyer Karl Jathro in 1910. It was Jathro’s system to "learn about the aircraft before one started actual flight training" and as a result Meinecke became very familiar with airframes and engines.
At the time of the outbreak of the war in August of 1914, Meinecke had not yet passed all of the requirements for his International Flying Certificate. He enlisted in the Imperial German Air Service on 20 August 1914, carrying with him a letter from the great Jathro, recommending Meinecke for pilot training. On 25 July 1915, Meinecke received his Military Pilot’s certificate. Because of his flying skills, Meinecke was sent to Adlershof in Berlin to be a flight instructor.
On1 October 1915, Meinecke was sent to Turkey to train Turkish flying cadets. He continued in that capacity until April of 1916, at which time he was assigned to the Jagdstaffel at San Stefan.
Meinecke’s first victory occurred on 27 January 1917, the Kaiser’s birthday. The second was a Bristol Scout flown by Lt Bysshe and was downed on 17 February 1917. Number three was a seaplane shot down the 20th of January 1917. Number four; a Sopwith Camel was shot down on 23 January 1918, piloted by a Greek Naval Lieutenant Spyros Hambras. Number five, the last official victory was made on 2 March 1918, and a Sopwith shot down in flames into the Gulf of Saros during the Goeben air battles.
Meinecke was awarded the EHRENBECHER, the Iron Cross 2nd and 1st Classes, the silver service Medal of Baden, the Silver Medal of Fredric-Karl of Baden, and the Silver Medal for Bravery of Baden. His Turkish awards were the Turkish pilot’s badge, the Gallipolis Star, the Silver Liana with swords and the Silver Empties.