September 23 marks the anniversary of one of the most celebrated episodes of aerial combat.
It resulted in the death of German ace, Werner Voss, but not before he damaged all seven of the Royal Flying Corps aircraft trying to bring him down.
The rounds that finally sent his aircraft into the ground were fired by Arthur Rhys-Davids.
Voss’ skill earned him the complete respect of his foes that day in 1917.
Back at base, Rhys-Davids turned to his fellow ace, James McCudden, who also fought in the dogfight, and said: “Oh, if only I could have brought him down alive.”
Rhys-Davids was himself killed a month later. He, like Voss, was just 20 years old.
McCudden died the following year, aged 23.
Even the greatest airmen were unlikely to survive that first great air war of 1914-1918.
One for a quiet afternoon. Commando Attack. A Spaghetti war film from 1970, which is sometimes called Churchill’s Leopards.
Crazy plot but fun and entertaining in its way. Certainly better than most of the films in its genre made in Italy at that time.
I always find Hollywood and British propaganda films from the WW2 years fascinating.
Film-makers were particularly keen to tell heroic stories about life in Nazi-Occupied countries, showing how people resisted: the courage of the oppressed over the foolishness and barbarity of the oppressor.
Here is one I had not seen until recently: Paris After Dark, from 1943.
This is a rather fascinating piece of history. An interview in a number of parts with WW2 Stuka pilot Dr Heinz Migeod.
A Spanish Civil War veteran once told me that he and his comrades feared the Stuka more than any other enemy aircraft.
Incredible D-Day footage.
I’m still overwhelmed when I meet veterans of that most amazing day.