he subject of the Red Baron’s last flight is not a new one, we know that. Argument and discussion have taken place since the flight on the day in question. That we have something to say on the matter is obvious because of this book, but we are not just jumping on a band-wagon which people may believe had long ago lost most of its wheels.

In trying to look subjectively at the events of 21 April 1918 we have been mindful that many writers in the past have begun from the wrong premise and with already flawed information. Journalistic hypberbole {hype in present parlance) over the years did not help either. Therefore we have tried to be objective as well as subjective.

The two main authors who have already written excellent books on the subject. DaleTitler and the late Pat Carisella put everything they discovered into their well-read studies, but one problem in reading their books is that the sheer volume of the evidence presented can confuse a reader who is not deeply familiar with the subject. In other works people have gone into such great detail by putting in argument and counter­argument, claim and counter-claim, that one becomes almost punch-drunk and it is easy to lose the thread of whence such-and-such an argument started or whither it is leading.

Our approach was to start with a clean slate, put down what we believe are the salient facts and features of the occurrences and try, with common sense, to trace what either happened in fact, or where there is doubt, to apply a logical approach to suggest the most plausible answer. Where we are dealing with the trained, instinctive reactions of an aircraft pilot, the simplest answer is most likely to be the correct one.

Readers of this book may wonder why we have not mentioned many of the witnesses who have been approached over the years for their stories. In not mentioning them we do not imply that we discount their recollections, although it must be said that a number were quite obviously remembering an event, which while similar, was quite divorced from the one under review. Some, for instance, who insist the Baron was shot down soon after dawn or that his aeroplane had two wings, not three, must be confused about this incident or actually recalling another. Had it not been for the name of von Richthofen, most people
on the ground would have had little reason even to remember the event at all. but it is quite natural for another, similar event, to be placed in the forefront of the memory so that they believe they must have seen the Baron s fall.

The Carisella and Titler books are so well known, and most serious WW1 air historians will have them on their book-shelves, that it will be easy to cross-reference these other participants’ stories. We have had to mention several of the main characters in the drama as their statements are exceptionally important, or the events cannot be recorded faithfully without them. However, we mean no disrespect to those we have left out; we simply wish to refer the reader to these other books if they wish to read about them.

What we hope we have achieved is to portray as simple an overview of the 21 April 1918 as can be written down in order for the reader to follow easily and clearly the events of that day.

We believe that this new account will clear rather than further muddy the waters and earnestly feel that some interesting facts, especially concerning the pathology, and the logic we have applied to the story, will clarify much and at the same time put other things into proper perspective.

Norman Franks, Surrey, England Alan Вашей, Grimsby, Ontario, Canada.