Left, Roy Brown: Right, Baron Von Richthofen. Photo: Roy Brown Society
Captain Roy Brown, a First World War ace, fought an air-duel to the death with Manfred (Red Baron) von Richthofen. The National Post reports:
“Captain Brown took his perfect record of never losing a pilot to the skies above the Valley of the Somme on April 21, 1918, where he ran into the Baron.
The German dove in pursuit of one of Mr. Brown’s comrades. The captain gave chase, firing a lethal burst from his guns before zooming off to rejoin a reeling fray.
Moments later the Red Baron crashed on Australian held ground. The Australians would claim that they had killed him, shooting him to bits from below. Reports were filed. A medical exam was conducted and a conclusion reached — one some Australian history buffs still dispute — crediting the Canadian ace with the kill.
“Our best effort was on the 21st when we fought Baron von Richthofen’s ‘Circus’ as they are called,” Captain Brown wrote to his parents soon after the incident. “There were eleven of us and twenty-two of them, as nearly as we can make out. It was the most terrible fight I have ever seen in the air.
“We shot down three of their triplanes, among them was the Baron whom I shot down on our side of the lines. It is a terrible thing when you think of it that they should examine a body to see who should have the credit of killing him.
“What I saw that day shook me up a lot, as it was the first time I have seen a man whom I know I had killed. If you don’t shoot them they will shoot you, so it has to be done.”
“Love to all.