I am a Tombstone Tourist: someone who loves to wander cemeteries. I find it akin to visiting a museum: an opportunity to enjoy rarely seen sculpture, intricate carvings, and amazing architecture, all in a tranquil outdoor setting. This blog is about cemetery culture, art, history, issues of death, and genealogy - subjects of current relevance. I usually find something that intrigues me and makes me want to dig deeper. Care to join me? Read on...
September 17, will mark the 100th anniversary of the Red Baron’s
first air combat victories during World War One. An odd milestone to remember, but
what makes it newsworthy is that the family members of First World War fighter
ace, Manfred von Richthofen, and his first victims, Captain Tom Rees and Second
Lieutenant Lionel Morris will be meeting to
commemorate the day together.
Manfred von Richthofen
Richthofen, also known as The Red Baron because of the bright red color of his
Fokker aeroplane, transferred from the German cavalry to the air corps in 1915.
On September 17, 1916, Manfred von Richthofen was flying with his Jasta 11 squadron
near the town of Marcoing when he saw a group of British bombers. He attacked
and shot down one of the British planes. Twenty-one year old gunner, Captain
Tom Rees died immediately. Second Lieutenant Lionel Morris was wounded and died
in a German hospital at the age of 19.
Replica of Schnapps Cup
honor of his adversaries and to commemorate his first victories, von Richthofen
had a silver schnapps cup made which listed the enemy plane involved and the
date of the action. He would then drink a toast to his opponents. In all, von
Richthofen commissioned over 60 cups before silver became a prime commodity in
Germany. Very few of the cups still survive.
The Red Baron was Germany’s most famous fighter pilot
during the war. He was credited with a total of 80 kills between September 17,
1916 and April 21, 1918 – the day he was shot down and killed.
family members of Morris, Rees and von Richthofen will gather to share a schnapps toast
from a replica of the original cup to honor the three airmen, and to mark the centenary of that fateful day.