Wilfrid Reid May was born in Carberry, a thriving farm community on the windswept prairie of Manitoba. The youngest son of Alexander and Elizabeth May, "Wop" got his nickname in 1903 when a young cousin had difficulty pronouncing his given name.
On 21 April 1918, May seemed destined to become the 81st victim of Manfred von Richthofen. The Red Baron pursued May's Sopwith Camel along the Somme Canal through an undefended section of no-man's-land. As they passed over the village of Vaux-sur-Somme, Roy Brown intervened with a burst of Vickers machine gun fire. Seeing Richthofen's triplane make a sharp downward turn to the right and confident that May was now out of danger, Brown flew to the aid of Lt. Francis Mellersh who was under attack by two Fokker triplanes. About a minute later the Red Baron's Fokker DR.I crashed to the ground as Mellersh, now safe and followed by Brown, flew by on his way home.
Consistently listed as Wilfred Reid May in the London Gazette, numerous documents and sources.
Wilfrid May's biography, "Wings of a Hero" by Sheila Reid, was published in 1997. To learn more about Canadian ace "Wop" May, please visit WopMay.com.
"It was war. We were defending our country. We had a strict code of honor: you didn't shoot down a cripple and you kept it a fair fight." Wilfrid May
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Lieut. (A./Capt.) Wilfred Reid May. (FRANCE)
This officer has carried out numerous offensive and low-bombing patrols, proving himself on all occasions a bold and daring Pilot. He has accounted for seven enemy machines; two of these he destroyed in one flight. His keenness and disregard of personal danger is worthy of the highest praise.
Supplement to the London Gazette, 3 December 1918 (31046/14323)