The funeral of Baron von Richthofen

An amazing bit of silent footage this, of the funeral (with full military honours) of World War One flying ace the Baron Manfred von Richthofen.

And not, as you might expect, by his own side but by a contingent of Australian troops.

The day before (April 21st 1918) von Richthofen had been engaged in a dogfight with planes of the nascent Royal Air Force high above the Somme battlefield. A single red Fokker triplane was observed pursuing a British Sopwith Camel far over Allied lines, flying dangerously low.

The Australians peppered the plane with machine gun and rifle fire. The Fokker swerved then dived out of sight, but somehow landed safely. But although the Red Baron's plane was largely unscathed the 'ace of aces' himself had been hit and - when troops arrived - was already close to death.

The following day, April 22nd, No. 3 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps buried the body at Bertangles, near Amiens.

A wreath bearing the inscription 'To A Gallent and Worthy Foe' was placed on the grave.

Honour in death, even for an enemy.


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