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Red Baron death certificate turns up in Poland
Red Baron death certificate turns up in Poland
Published by Scott
11 December 2009
Red Baron death certificate turns up in Poland

'Red Baron' death certificate turns up in Poland

By Matthew Day in Warsaw
Published: 10:35PM GMT 06 Dec 2009

The death certificate of Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the legendary First World War German flying ace better known as 'Red Baron', has been discovered in Poland.

Ninety-one years after Von Richthofen died after being shot down near the River Somme in France Maciej Kowalczyk, a genealogist, found the document in archives belonging to the western Polish town of Ostrow Wielkopolski.

Mr Kowalczyk explained that the town, which in 1918 was part of Germany, issued the death notice in accordance to German law.

"Imperial regulations from 1879, relating to military personnel, who had left their permanent residence on mobilisation and were later killed, dictated that their death was registered at their last residence before heading to the front," he told the PAP news agency.

In 1914 Von Richthofen, then a cavalry officer with the 1st Lancers, was stationed in Ostrow Wielkopolski and gave it as his last official address before going to serve on the eastern front.

After transferring to imperial Germany's air force, Von Richthofen went on to become the Great War's most successful fighter pilot with 80 kills to his name, and winning the respect of both friends and foe alike.

Shot down behind British lines in April 1918 by either aircraft of the Royal Air Force or ground fire from Australian troops he was given a military funeral with full honours.

The discovery of the death certificate in Poland will strengthen the unusual but growing ties between the country and the German war hero.

Swidnica, the site of the Von Richthofen family seat, boasts memorials to the fighter ace, and local officials now tout the town's Red Baron connection as reason to visit, and even a local sports club has adopted his name. (London, England), December 6, 2009
'Red Baron' death certificate turns up in Poland - Telegraph

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