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Descendants of the famous Red Baron and his first British victims meet to mark Centenary

On 17 September 2016, relatives of Manfred von Richthofen, the ‘Red Baron’, and his first victims were brought together for the first time, at Remembering 1916 – Life on the Western Front.

100 years ago to the day, the Red Baron, the ‘ace of aces’ of aerial warfare in the Great War, shot down a British plane in the skies above Northern France, piloted by former Whitgift student, Lionel Morris, with Tom Rees as Observer. 

To mark the Centenary of the aerial dogfight, relatives of the three airmen came together to remember and respect this historic event at a special commemorative dinner: Jill Bush, cousin of the 19-year-old pilot, Lieutenant Lionel Morris; Dr Meriel Jones, great-niece of 21-year-old Observer, Tom Rees; and Baron Donat von Richthofen, great-nephew of the Red Baron (who was just 24 years old in 1916).

Von Richthofen had a personal tradition of ordering a small, engraved silver cup to commemorate each of his victories. A replica of the No 1 Victory Cup, commissioned by von Richthofen from his silversmith in Berlin to mark this, the first of what would be 80 ‘kills’, has been produced by silversmith, Mark Fenn, for the Exhibition, and was used to toast the fallen comrades. 

A painting was also specially-commissioned for Remembering 1916, a large canvas in oils by the aviation artist, Alex Hamilton, depicting the ‘dogfight’.

The poignant meeting of the relatives of these historic figures was covered by ITV London Tonight, BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, BBC Radio Wales, The Telegraph, The Times and the Daily Mail.