Top 25 WW1 aces and their ages

1.Manfred von Richthofen25 when killed
2.René Fonck24 at end of war
3.Edward Mannock30 when killed
4.Billy Bishop24 at end of war
5.Ernst Udet22 at end of war
6.Raymond Collishaw24 at end of war
7.James McCudden23 when killed
8.Andrew Beauchamp-Proctor24 at end of war
9.Erich Loewenhardt21 when killed
10.Donald MacLaren25 at end of war
11.Georges Guynemer22 when killed
12.William George Barker24 at end of war
13.Josef Jacobs24 at end of war
14.Werner Voss20 when killed
15.Robert A. Little23 when killed
16.George McElroy25 when killed
17.Fritz Rumey27 when killed
18.Albert Ball20 when killed
19.Rudolph Berthold27 at end of war
20.Bruno Loerzer27 at end of war
21.Paul Bäumer22 at end of war
22.Tom F. Hazell26 at end of war
23.Charles Nungesser26 at end of war
24.Georges Madon26 at end of war
25.Oswald Boelcke25 when killed

Order as per Wikipedia. It was going to be the top 20 until I noticed I could get Nungesser and Boelcke on there too.

Edward Mannock was the oldest of this group, at 30. He was an exceptional pilot in a lot of ways, not least with the amount of effort he devoted to ensuring that the younger pilots under his command (who knew him simply as "Mick") were properly schooled in how to survive. His devotion to his comrades manifested as an intense hatred of German pilots, and his actions and beliefs were a stark contrast to the perception of the First Air War as chivalrous.

Albert Ball and Werner Voss are the youngest listed, both aged 20 when they were killed.

Voss was a close friend and rival of Manfred von Richthofen. His final dogfight became legendary, as he single-handedly held off a squadron of planes led by James McCudden, before finally being shot down. "His flying was wonderful," McCudden said of Voss, "his courage magnificent and in my opinion he is the bravest German airman whom it has been my privilege to see fight."

Ball was a loner who was valued highly for his propaganda value. He spent his time on the ground gardening by himself, and the letters he wrote home showed a young man struggling with the repressive nature of his role, and his growing unhappiness at killing so many pilots. He crashed while pursuing the Red Baron's brother, Lothar von Richthofen, although it's unclear who (if anyone) shot him down.

1 comment:

Tinker said...

Wow - they were all so young. Though I guess that's been sadly true of casualties in most wars.
Not that I have that much information to formulate an opinion on the matter...What little I know about WWI, I think I learned mostly from the movies - that and comic strips (Snoopy and the Red Baron in 'Peanuts'). And just now on your blog.