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Today in History

Name: Wilfrid Reid "Wop" May
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) Wilfrid May
Country: Canada
Rank: Captain
Service: Royal Flying Corps
Royal Air Force
Units: 209
Victories: 13
Born: 20 March 1896
Place of Birth: Carberry, Manitoba
Died: 21 June 1952
Place of Death: Provo, Utah
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.

"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.
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 15 May 1918 1015 209 Sopwith Camel (B6398) Albatros D.V (OOC) Belloy-Pozieres
2 16 May 1918 1615 209 Sopwith Camel (B6398) Fokker DR.I (CAP) 1 Corbie
3 27 May 1918 1200 209 Sopwith Camel (B6379) LVG C (CAP) S of Albert
4 05 Jun 1918 0800 209 Sopwith Camel (B6379) LVG C (DESF) SE of Villers Brettoneaux
5 01 Jul 1918 2020 209 Sopwith Camel (B6379) Fokker DR.I (DESF) E of Albert
6 01 Aug 1918 0945 209 Sopwith Camel (F5925) Fokker D.VII (DES) 2 Bailleul
7 12 Aug 1918 0900 209 Sopwith Camel (F5944) Fokker D.VII (OOC) W of Proyart
8 25 Aug 1918 1430 209 Sopwith Camel (D9594) Fokker D.VII (DES) Baissy
9 27 Aug 1918 1305 209 Sopwith Camel (D9594) Halberstadt C (DES) Monchy
10 27 Aug 1918 1310 209 Sopwith Camel (D9594) Hannover C (DES) E of Rémy
11 15 Sep 1918 1715 209 Sopwith Camel (D9594) Fokker D.VII (DES) E of Epinoy
12 20 Sep 1918 1645 209 Sopwith Camel (D9594) Fokker D.VII (OOC) 3 Sauchy Lestree
13 21 Sep 1918 1835 209 Sopwith Camel (D9594) Fokker D.VII (OOC) Ecoust St. Quentin

1 Shared with Capt Stearne Edwards, Lt Merrill Taylor
2 Shared with Capt Robert Foster
3 Shared with Lt C Knight (F3233)
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