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Manfred von Richthofen, Decorations

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Manfred von Richthofen, Decorations

Shown are the decorations of Rittmeister Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen, the greatest ace of WW1. It is unknown who now possesses these decorations. For many years these were in possession of the family, and were some of the few treasured mementos kept by his mother, Kunigunde Baroness von Richthofen. The home of the Richthofens in Schweidnitz (Upper Silesia) was kept as a museum until the last days of World War 2. Before the Red Army invaded Silesia (Schlesien), the Richthofen family had to flee to the West and only a few cherished possessions were brought to the West. The Richthofen Museum, his own personal room in the family villa in Schweidnitz,, held many souvenirs of his victories in aerial combat, there were aircraft motors, machine guns, roundels and numbers cut from the fabric of downed machines, as well as the sixty silver cups made for each victory and engraved with the date and known details of the downed aircraft. Altogether, Richthofen had 80 confirmed victories, but only sixty cups were ordered, as the jeweller who had mande the cups informed Richthofen that silver was no longer available, due to metal shortages, so therefore Richthofen dropped the idea of usiing inferior or Ersatz Metal for his trophies. Unfortunely there is no record of the fate of these trophies when the Red Army took over the home of the Richthofens, which was probably plundered. Their home, in the Liegnitzer Strasse No.10 in Schweidnitz still exists, and has now been converted into a hotel, but with respectful reference to the former occupant including period photos of him and a small memorial plate in the gardens. The decorations are complete except for one item, the Turkish Liakat Medal is missing from the picture, as compared to an old photo taken in the interwar period, and can be seen in the reference publication by Major Kimborogh Brown (USAF) and Heinz Nowara in von Richthofen and the Flying Circus, Harborough Publications, UK from the late 1960s.

Decorations shown are - top centre:
Preußen: Roter Adler Orden IV. m.d Krone u. Schwertern
Preußen: Orden Pour le Mérite
edge left:
Deutsches Reich: Abzeichen für Flugzeugführer
Lippe-Detmold: Militärverdienstkreuz I.
Bulgaria: Militärverdienstorden, Offizierskreuz
right edge:
Austria-Hungary: Militär Flugzeugführerabzeichen, Kaiser Franz Joseph
Turkey: Eiserner Halbmond
Türkey: Imtjaz-Medaille with swords
Turkey: Liakat -Medaille


Clasp:
Preußen: Eisernes Kreuz II.
Preußen: Hohenzollern Haus Orden, Ritterkreuz m.Schwertern
Sachsen: Militär St.Heinrich Orden, Ritterkreuz
Sächsische Herzogtümer: Ernestinischer Haus Orden, Ritterkreuz I. m.Schwertern
Bayern: Militär Verdienst Orden, IV. m.Krone u. Schwertern
Württemberg: Friedrichs Orden, Ritterkreuz
Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha: Ovale Silberne Carl-Eduard Medaille mit Bandspange 1917
Hessen: Allgemeines Ehrenzeichen für Tapferkeit
Schaumburg-Lippe: Kriegsverdienstkreuz II.
Braunschweig: Kriegsverdienstkreuz II.
Lübeck: Hanseatenkreuz
Hamburg: Hanseatenkreuz
Bremen: Hanseatenkreuz
Austria-Hungary: Orden der Eisernen Krone IV.
Austria-Hungary: Militär Verdienst Orden III. m.d.Kriegsdekoration

One Turkish decoration is missing.


 

 

Richthofenstaffel.jpg

Richthofen.jpg

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Excellent article Paul , I didn't know about the hotel , that would be worth a visit :)

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Some pictures of the hotel, 2007, 2009 and 2015

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Schweidnitzvilla_02.jpg

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A pre-war photo of the Richthofen Museum in Schweidnitz

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The tomb of the family in Schweidnitz, opposite the house. Albrecht, the father and brother Lothar are buried here. The monumental tomb no longer exists, it was demolished after 1945. The graves are now somewhere under flower beds in the former park, unmarked.

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Richthofens Trophies at his former home in Schweidnitz, pre-war photo. Amongst the
display were also some engines and machine guns taken from the machines he had shot down

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One of the famous silver victory cups, sold at an auction in USA for $ 5.594 several years ago,

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The original rotary engine at the Imperial War Museum in London

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Bertangles, 22. April 1918, moved 1920 by the French authorities to Fricourt.

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Reburial in Berlin-Invalidenfriedhof, 25. November 1925

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A realistic scene found under wikipedia, source unknown

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More illustrations and text added.
Some original works on Richthofen

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The autobiography first published in 1917

 

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Biography ca. 1941 by Rolf Italiaander

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1933/34, forward by Bolko v. Richthofen and Hermann Göring

image.thumb.png.dc4245e405251e7d8240dcd410c7d2ac.pngimage.png.175e551403dea1e9a54c3b41d9e2e07e.pngBiography by Hermann Kohl, ca. 1939

By Floyd Gibbons, 1927

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By William E. Burrows, ca. 1968, paperback version, and 1958 by Heinz Nowarra and Brown, very recommendable.

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Biography by 'Vigilant', 1934, re-published by John Hamilton, ca. 1967

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Jagd in Flanderns Himmel  by Karl Bodenschatz, Adjutant, a diary of the Richthofen squadron in full detail, published 1940

 

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Victory cup 61 was for Lt Algernon Frederick Baird flying  Sopwith Pup B1795 of 46 Sqn shot down on 3rd Sept 1917 South of Bousbecque.

Other Aircraft numbers on wall in photo relate to.

A3340 - Bristol F.2a of 48 Sqn 3rd Apr 1917 his 35th victory flown by 2/Lt Arthur Norman Leckler ( W/POW ) and 2/Lt Herbert Duncan George ( KIA ).

Shot down South of Douai.

N5193 - Sopwith Pup of 8th RNAS 4th Jan 1917 his 16th victory flown by Flt/Lt Allen Switzer Todd ( CAN ) KIA shot down near Metz En Couture.

A/1108 - Sopwith Strutter of 43rd Sqn 4th Mar 1917 23rd victory flown by 2/Lt Herbert John Green and 2/Lt Alexander William Reid MC both ( KIA )

Shot down South west of Arheville.

A6382-F.E 2d of 25th Sqn 3rd Apr 1917 his 34th victory flow by 2/Lt Donald Peter McDonald ( POW ) and 2/Lt John O'Beirne ( KIA ) near Lieven.

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There were a just few more than just over 60 cups - every 10th cup was of a larger size, and there the series ended, as silver was no longer available, so Richthofen decided to stop the series rather than use non-precious metal. There is a detailed list of all his victories in the book by Nowarra and Brown (1958). The collection of cups, along with the rest of all items was looted from the family home in Schweidnitz by the Russians in 1945. As we can see, a couple of them have emerged since and landed on the world market, usually for looted items - USA. These are by right, the property of the Richthofen family. Their home is now in Polish hands and was last used as a hotel, see previous posts.

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The silver victory cups, 1930s photo.

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A radial motor as a chandelier

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a silver trophy cup, 2 April 1918
A gift from Kaiser Wilhelm II for his 75th aerial victory to the most successful fighter pilot of the First World War and Knight of the Pour le mérite order. A large impressive cup, gold plated interior, supported by two crowned flying Prussian eagles. There is an engraved dedication on the front, "Dem ruhmvollen Kampfflieger Rittmeister Freiherr von Richthofen - Kommandeur des Jagdgeschwaders Nr. 1 - für seine hervorragenden Leistungen im Luftkampf von seinem dankbaren Kaiser und König - Wilhelm - Großes Hauptquartier, den 2. April 1918" ("To the famous fighter pilot Captain Baron von Richthofen - Commander of the 1st Fighter Squadron - for his outstanding achievements in aerial combat from his grateful Kaiser and King - Wilhelm - General Headquarters, 2 April 1918"). Imperial hallmark "800". Height: 41.5 cm. Weight: 1447 g. Small dents, easily restorable.
On 2 April, Richthofen won his 75th air battle, on 6 April the Kaiser awarded him the Order of the Red Eagle, III Class with Crown and Swords, the only such award to a pilot in the First World War. Of the same provenance as lot 6386 ff. Hermann Historica, Auction 48, 21/22 April 2005. Estimate €4,510 - €5,850
 
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Source: liveauctioniers.com

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image.png.29da96237538c2f25d33198664e33671.png

Donat Freiherr von Richthofen meets a descendant of Albert Ball at the RAF Museum in 2014
Source: Daily Telegraph

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