ordered her to take it down, as no men were allowed. So the young lady took a picture of another Nun, cut out the face, and put his face there. (So the Red Baron became a Nun!) But he was not very good looking when he climbed into his red airplane, he looked like an Eskimo. He wore, over his flying uniform, a large fur coat, a fur hat and fur boots. For you must remember that all the airplanes of World War 1 had open cockpits. It was difficult for the pilots to try and stay warm. Strangely enough, the pilots of World War 1 did not have seat belts, nor were they issued parachutes! Therefore, when a pilot engaged in a "Dog Fight" and was shot down, he had to go down with his airplane. If his airplane caught on fire, he just burnt up also.
When the Red Baron would shoot down a British Plane, he would follow it down to the ground. Then he would land and check on the pilot. If the pilot was alive, he would take him captive and give him first aid if necessary. He would also take a souvenir from the plane. Richthofen's war trophies were set up in a room in the family home in Schweidnitz. The chandelier was made from a captured airplane rotary engine. The walls were covered with fabric bearing serial numbers taken from planes he had shot down. Manfred was awarded nineteen different medals, including the Pour le Merite (Blue Max), Germany's highest award. He had indeed earned every one of these, for he was a fantastic pilot. In the month of April 1917, he performed a feat that no one else could come close to. He shot down 21 British airplanes! In only 20 months of aerial combat, the Red Baron was officially credited with 80 "Kills"! He was not given credit for all of the planes he shot down, which was around 90.
On July 6, 1917, Manfred was shot down, with a serious head wound. He had a gapping hole in his skull that required an operation. He was in the hospital for twenty days. When he returned to flying, he still wore a large bandage around his head. He had barely escaped death. His brother, two years younger, Oberleutnant (1st Lieutenant) Lother Seigfried Freiherr Von Richthofen, was also his wingman for around a year. He was credited with forty "Kills"! They flew and fought well as a team. Lother Von Richthofen survived the entire war, although shot down and wounded twice. But he was killed while piloting a commercial airliner which crashed in 1922.
By now the German airforce believed that the Red Baron was invincible. He was so good that no one had the ability to even get close enough to shoot him down. The British Airforce was beginning to believe the same thing. But when he began to believe the same thing also, that was his downfall! He had not completely recovered from his operation, and his head wound refused to heal. Manfred was also flying five to seven times a day, so he was exhausted and became careless. The very next day he was chasing a British Sopwith Camel fighter over the Somme river valley near the town of Corbie. They passed over the German front lines and then the British-Australian lines. He flew so low that ground soldiers began shooting at him also.
Suddenly the Red Baron's red Fokker triplane did a spin and a half, and crashed into the ground! He was dead when Australian ground troops reached his plane. And actually his death remains a mystery even today. For three different people claimed that they shot him down. The infantry machine gunners in the trenches, the anti-aircraft gunners, and an Australian airplane all claimed the victory. Credit was finally given to Capt. Roy A. Brown of squadron 209, but this is debatable. The Red Baron was buried with full Military honors behind enemy lines, by the pilots that he had fought against. It would be many years before the Red Baron could be brought back to his beloved Germany.