Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Chivalry in the Clouds

In the Great War there was an odd camaraderie and chivalry among aviators from both sides. Britain’s top Ace, Billy Bishop, mentions his officers' mess wining and dining a downed German pilot before reluctantly handing him over to the army.

When a pilot from either side went down behind enemy lines, the "enemy" would drop a note to inform his comrades whether he had been killed in a crash or taken prisoner. When a renowned pilot died, he was given a full military funeral, and his erstwhile adversaries would drop a wreath and note of condolence over his airfield.

Funeral of The Red Baron
Manfred von Richthofen, Germany’s top Ace, better known as the Red Baron, was shot down over the Allied lines in April, 1918. Above is a photo of his funeral, conducted by an Australian squadron.

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