It was 1975 when his brother, Balko, obtained permission from the East German government to take Manfred’s remains back to the von Richthofen family burial plot in Wiesbaden, Germany.
Manfred’s first burial was in the village churchyard of Bertangles neat Amiens, France in 1918. Even though he was a Captain in the German Air Force during World War 1, he received full military honours at his burial by the Commonwealth Forces.
In the early 1920’s the French moved his body from the small churchyard to a new military cemetery for German war dead in Fricourt, France. In 1925, his remains were brought back to German soil and placed in the Invalidenfriedhof in Berlin. This was the traditional resting place for the Prussian Army and many commanders and officers from World War 1. However, when the Berlin Wall went up, the Invalidenfriedhof was on the edge of the demarcation zone in the Russian sector and the cemetery was closed to the public so watchtowers and barracks could be constructed. Gunfire shots, from the Wall’s guards, had damaged graves hence, Manfred’s brother sought permission to move his remains once more.
Manfred died on the 21 April 1918, he was only 25 years old when his plane was shot down over France. Manfred superbly landed his plane in enemy territory before dying from his injuries. Manfred von Richthofen was the ace-of-aces of air combat with 80 victories – the Red Baron. New Zealander’s know the Red Baron in the Christmas song “Snoopy’s Christmas” where the “Bloody” Red Baron extends friendship to Snoopy, the enemy, on the night before Christmas, 40 below.
and those Christmas bells do “ring out from the land asking peace of all the world and good will to man”