Monday, 6 February 2012

The Red Baron April 21st 1918

The Red Baron
Northern France.
Over the Front Lines.
Aircraft: Fokker DR1 425/17 Triplane

April 21st.1918.

On this day. Manfred Albrecht Freiherr Richthofen
" The Red Baron"  Died.
He was shot down as he flew low over the front lines! Whilst being chased by a British Aircraft, passing by the Australian positions! the Aussies opened fire
on him, and claimed to have shot him down? He and his Aircraft ended up in No-mans Land! between the fronts.
He was in his 26th year.
Over the years I have read many accounts of this incident, but the version I read in the UK Daily Mail on the Thursday. January 5th 2012. is for me ? the closest to what really happened!
Except for the part! Which I think is a bit fanciful? Where they say he landed the aircraft after being mortally wounded? The Fokker Triplane was a notoriously unstable aircraft, Its instability and powerful engine, was its great advantage over the British Aircraft. But it was difficult to control? The Baron was reported as saying "It Climbed like a Monkey! and flew like the devil"

So I believe? Either the Baron landed the aircraft and was immediately shot and killed or he was killed making a forced landing! leaving it to the aircraft to finish the crash landing?
Who Knows?

The Red Baron Von Richthofen was an Ace among Pilots.

Bill Farnsworth an Australian Stretcher bearer on the front line, was at this time sitting in the latrine
and the whole incident unfolded before him.

He saw stray bullets flying all around the place from the descending aircraft, he felt lucky he wasn't hit? Both aircraft flew low across the Australian lines and the Aussie machine gunners opened fire. The British aircraft pulled up and went around, flying passed for a look down! and then flew away.
The Barons Aircraft bounced the once and crashed, out in No-mans Land!.

Suddenly It was quite! Everybody seemed stunned; The Baron had a fearsome reputation on the front line amongst the troops. They couldn't believe he had been shot down?
Shortly after some of the troops went out to check if it really was the "Baron"? Once Confirmed they began stripping bits off the aircraft for souvenirs.Their Officers stopped them. So that night Bill and a couple of his mates, sneaked out and got souvenirs for them selves, Bill cut a piece of red fabric from the airframe.

50 years later. Bill Farnsworth was a retired Farmer and lived next door to my Uncle Mick in Sunshine. Melbourne. Victoria. Australia. I often chatted with him and listened to his stories, When he told me about  this incident and mentioned the red plane? It peaked my interest. He went and showed me his souvenir and even cut me a piece from it, for myself. Which I placed in my flight bag and carried it all over the world, and showed it to hundreds of fellow Pilots.

That red cut out piece of fabric, has more than likely done 50 times more flying hours, than it did with its last pilot.   "The Red Baron"

"All men are mortal"



  1. Thanks so much for visiting and participating in Thursday Truth or Dare. What a lovely item to be entrusted with. You have a blog. Maybe that letter can be used as a tribute to him. I would love to hear about it. If you decide to publish it, please let me know. Donna

    I hope you'll be back next Thursday!

  2. Perhaps you might try tracking down a family member. Not knowing what the letter contains, I cannot say if it is something that should be passed on. If you think it is worth passing along, some family members are quite sentimental and might like the letter. Good luck in your decision. I say "follow the gut." You won't be steered wrong. Donna


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