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Old 27 June 2004, 09:46 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks Barrett. I am glad at least someone reads my books. With so many weird questions sometimes appearing in this forum I begin to wonder if any of our historians study these things properly. vonR was not dead when he force landed but died within seconds. Alan Bennett (co author) and I know this because he spoke to a man as he died, and we know he force landed because, as all good Triplane pilots would have done, he turned his engine off and depressurised his petrol tank to avoid fire if this was damaged and ignited on a hot engine. Norman Franks
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Old 27 June 2004, 12:45 PM   #12 (permalink)
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NormanF:
I am curious, what procedure did MvR use to "depressurize" his fuel tank?
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Old 27 June 2004, 03:03 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I do not, nor would I ever, contradict any of the highly respected scholars quoted and participating in this thread. I do, however, think that the point which my friend of a friend picked up on is of interest. She noted that, despite the serious nature of the facial injuries (now underlined by Paul's anecdote about the teeth), there is little if any bruising evident from the photograph. From this she concludes that the victims remaining blood was below head level, suggesting that at the least he was unconscious when the ijuries were sustained, and very probably dead.
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Old 27 June 2004, 05:17 PM   #14 (permalink)
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A good comparison would be the photo of Lothar von Richthofen's injuries he sustained when his face and his gun-butt pads met after his crash. If these things were padded and could do all of that damage, I would hate to see what a pilot's face would look like if they were not covered!

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Old 27 June 2004, 05:55 PM   #15 (permalink)
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PeterL,

My understanding is his face was bruised up pretty bad,that is why the baking powder was put on his face,to lighten it.


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Old 27 June 2004, 06:00 PM   #16 (permalink)
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normanf Posted on Jun 27 2004, 01:46 PM. Alan Bennett (co author) and I know this because he spoke to a man as he died...
"He spoke to someone as he died???" "This I've never heard!" Was it ever documented... what his last words were? Very interested to know! Thank you.

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Old 27 June 2004, 06:41 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Normanf, I've read most of your books. Keep em coming, Sir.

I believe Mick Mannock, a noted "Hun Hater", said he hoped Richthofen burned all the way down.
 
Old 27 June 2004, 08:01 PM   #18 (permalink)
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von Reichel,

Supposedly an Australian infantryman (I think his name was Twycross or something like that) upon visiting the location of MvR's death a few years later told his son that he was the first to arrive on the scene, heard von Richthofen say something he could not make out and then "Kaput".

Some people say he said "War is kaput". What would make sense to me is that either he said something about his guns being broken, (kaput) or the fact that he knew he was about to die.

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Old 27 June 2004, 08:03 PM   #19 (permalink)
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All,

Obviously still a very touchy subject.

It has been widely reported that MvR was killed by a single bullet passing through his heart. Very few people dispute this fact. Some allege that this would have caused instant death. Some allege that he took off his goggles and "checked six" to see who was attacking him. Some allege that he had time to actually "land" his aircraft.

The simple fact of the matter is that IF he was shot through the heart, and his aircraft landed (or crashed) shortly afterwards, it is doubtful he would still be alive at that point.

Also consider that AFTER his aircraft came to rest, and the dust settled, the ground troops would be shocked into action some seconds later, and run to the crash scene. It would have to be probably 30 seconds after this fatal bullet (at least) before his aircraft crashed, add a few seconds for the shock to realise what had happened, and to make the decision whether to run out to the crash scene, and you can't imagine ANY soldier arriving at the crash scene till about 1 minute after he had been shot through the heart.

I seriously doubt that MvR was still alive at this point of time. Some pundits allege that MvR did speak to some soldiers at the crash scene (allegedly - "alles est kaput" - "all is finished")...but he would SURELY have been dead at this time. If by some miracle, he was still alive, he would surely have been in severe shock after being fatally wounded AND surviving an airplane crash. Additionally, it is fairly well accepted that he suffered severe facial injuries in the crash, and had to have his teeth and bottom jaw re-positioned to allow a photograph of his corpse to be taken after his death (surely not a ghoulish souveneir, probably to drop over the German lines to convince them the Rittmeister was in fact deceased). Could he have spoken? Would it be intelligible? Would the soldiers that arrived speak German to interpret it, or simply remember it parrot-fashion to enter into the official report?

It has been said that there is enough blood-red airplane fabric that allegedly came from the downed triplane to cover WELL OVER 20 triplanes. Obviously, many soldiers and airmen tore the centre red dot from a RAF roundel and sold this fabric for much more than it was worth by alleging it came from MvR's triplane.

Also, if we believe that they are all (or most even) telling the truth, there must have been 1000 soldiers present at his death.

No gentlemen, face it...he was dead when the soldiers arrived at the crash scene...he said nothing. There were very few that actually WERE at what could be called the crash scene (most souveneirs being removed when the aircraft was towed back into Allied lines or at the Australian aerodrome afterwards.

Most likely, a very ORDINARY scene, turned into a plethora of exciting stories to tell the fellows at the pub, or the kids.

Just a few thoughts to inflame more controversy.

And Norman Franks...EVERYBODY reads your books...everyone that wants or needs facts, or a well-written read...you do yourself an injustice...these books are the bibles of WW1 aero historians.

Steve Drew
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Old 28 June 2004, 01:54 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Ernest Twycross was English. He claims to have been the first to arrive at the site of the downed triplane. He is reported to have told his son, in 1970, some 42 years after the event, that he heard von Rivhthofen say "Alles is kaput" before he (von Richthofen) died. This must have occurred before von Richthofen attempted to alight from the cockpit and was then shot by an unknown Australian soldier.
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