Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Red Baron


Isn't it strange how enemies seem to lose their stigma!
The changing face of prejudice is rather an enigma.
I'm British, and the Germans were once seen as Dirty Dogs,
Though we didn't like the French too much; we labelled them as 'Frogs'!
Yet now we're all united, apart from some minor spats,
The currencies are intertwined! Prime Ministers have chats!
There was once a dastardly devil we felt deserved his end!
Yet now we feel, had we known him, he could have been a friend!
Manfred was an eldest son, a German aristocrat.
The Richthofen's had vast lands, the family purse was fat.
His Uncle Alexander, a hunter, was admired,
And Manfred's imagination by the hunting game was fired.
At the Military Academy he didn't really shine,
Academically he was so-so; athletically he was fine.
He joined the Cavalry at first, seeing life from a horse's back,
But the fighting in the First World War took the form of a tank attack.
The Cavalry was disbanded, Manfred was relegated
To the Signal Corps, which, without a doubt, he absolutely hated!
He saw the airplanes up above and he knew they'd play a part,
And the urge to fly an airplane was embedded in his heart.
When first he qualified to fly it wasn't on his own
And the need to be a solo pilot must have grown and grown.
He knew he could get up closer to the hated enemy
If he flew a small plane on his own; he'd feel more in charge and free.
Thus began the flying career for which he had been bred,
And it was now his solo craft was painted a brilliant red.
Since he was heir to a Baron, the 'Red Baron' he was named,
And this is when so very many enemy scalps were claimed.
Soon he had 52 victories, 52 planes destroyed!
And the people back in Germany were utterly overjoyed.
Then there came the fateful day when a bullet grazed his eye;
He had cranial injuries; people thought that he might die.
But he now had 80 victories, and although his head kept aching,
He persisted in many daredevil acts, impossible risk-taking.
In the end it was from the ground that bullet-fire caused his death;
Australian soldiers shot at him and he took his final breath.
No doubt he was foolhardy; and an egotist, to boot,
But what a tremendous hero! To fly, to aim, to shoot!
He will always be remembered for his wonderful bravery .
'Red Baron' is a name that chimes throughout all history.

A German pilot from a very different angle here:

1 comment:

Kat said...

Oops.... is it that not many were able to detachedly read this?

can only say that you have the biggest heart I've ever seen - to appreciate and see from someone else's point of view.