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Victory 32 – Lothar’s account

Event ID: 535

02 April 1917


Source ID: 43

The Red Knight of Germany, the story of Baron von Richthofen, Floyd Gibbons, 1927, 1959 Bantam Books

The flying Uhlan took a photograph of the wrecked plane in which he killed Lieutenant J. C. Powell and Air Gunner P. Bonner. It remains, with his notations on the back of it, in one of his several scrapbooks in his mother’s home at Schweidnitz. On this day (Lothar wrote), our group had been assigned to an early morning start, that is to say, it had to be prepared to take the air first at any moment. Our duty began between 4 and 5 A.M. We had just got up and wee sitting in the stating house, when the telephone rang. “Six Bristols coming across from Arras in the direction of Douai”, was the message. We jumped into our planes and started. High up above us at about 9.000 feet there was a broken cover of clouds. We could see the English planes below the clouds not far from our airdrome. My brother’s red bird was standing ready at the doors of its hangar, but my brother was not to be seen. We came into contact with the enemy, but the Englishmen were too clever with their machines, and we could not bring any of them down. Whenever we thought we had one of them, he disappeared in the clouds. After flying around for an hour without having brought down a single plane, we flew back and landed. My brother’s red plane was in the open hangar door, apparently in the same spot where we had last seen it, but anyone could see, judging from the activity of the mechanics working on, it, that it had been up in the air. We asked the mechanics. They told us the Lieutenant had left the ground five minutes after we had started, and that he had returned twenty minutes later, after having brought down an English plane. We walked back to our quarters and found that my brother had gone back to bed and was sleeping as though nothing had happened. Only a few bullet splashes and holes in his machine and the report of his having shot down another Englishman indicated that he had been flying. We were just a little ashamed of ourselves. We had been three, and we started earlier and landed later than my brother, and we could show no results. While we were getting ready for our next start, my brother turned up, and it seemed to me that he was cross with the English who had interrupted his sleep and who forced peace-loving men to leave their beds at unseemly hours.

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