Family of Welsh Airman Who Died in WW1 Meets Relative Of Germany's Red Baron

Capt Tom Rees, from Brecon, Wales (Welsh: Aberhonddu, Cymru), died aged 21 on 17 September 1916 in an air battle with Germany's Red Baron pilot Manfred von Richthofen (2 May 1892 – 21 April 1918) . On that day 100 years ago, Tom Rees was the observer in a plane with a pilot, Lionel Morris when they were intercepted over northern France by German fighters. They were some of the first victims of the famous German WW1 pilot who went on to have 80 aerial combat victories credited to him before he was killed in 1918.

Now Capt Rees' great-niece Meriel Jones has met the Red Baron's great-nephew Baron Donat von Richthofen along with relatives of Lt Morris, in a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the air battle and in an act of reconciliation. There were clearly incedents of great bravery on all sides during the conflict. Manfred von Richthofen, known as The Red Baron because his aircraft was painted red, was regarded as a national hero in Germany, and respected and admired even by his enemies.

However, in remembering bravery and victims we should never forget the great tragedy of this conflict. World War I lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. It resulted in the death of over nine million combatants and seven million civilians. Over 16 million animals were also involved in the First World War. Eight million horses and many mules and donkeys died. Used to transport ammunition and supplies many died under shelling, but also from the terrible weather and conditions they endured. The horrors of the First World War still haunt us and remind us of the vital need to work for peace.


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