The Red Baron got credit for his first official victory on this date in 1916 in aerial combat over Cambrai, France. He promptly placed an order for a silver cup from a jewelry store in Berlin. He continued to order cups every time he was victorious until the shortage of silver in blockaded Germany put an end to his collection. He had 60 cups altogether, though he chalked up another 20 victories.
Incidentally, Manfred von Richtofen was not a baron, although the Fokker he died in was definitely red. But his German title was very loosely translated and the name stuck.
He and his brother Lothar – really, Manfred and Lothar – were in the cavalry, but barbed wire and machine guns put an end to that and the cavalry became infantry. Clearly, not something Manfred and Lothar felt appropriate to their station, so both trained to be pilots.
A year and a half later, the Red Baron was shot down by Australian anti-aircraft fire over France. His plane was not badly damaged but it was quickly disassembled by souvenir hunters. Lothar, who ultimately had 40 victories in WWI, died in 1922 when the engine of a passenger plane he was piloting failed.
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Anton Mauve was born on this date in 1838 and we all owe him a great debt. He studied painting, moved to the Hague and married a girl named Ariette Carbentus. When he was in his early 40’s, Ariette’s cousin came to stay and to study with Anton.
Ariette’s cousin was Vincent van Gogh and it was Mauve who gave him his first lessons in oil painting technique and watercolor. Later, Mauve loaned Vincent the money to rent and set up a studio.
A few years later, they had a permanent falling out. Mauve was apparently a bit starchy – he was after all the son of a Mennonite preacher – and when Vincent befriended a pregnant prostitute, Mauve cut off contact.
When Mauve died suddenly in 1888 at the age of 49, Vincent wrote:
“Now here, for instance, at this moment, I have 6 paintings of blossoming fruit trees. And the one I brought home today would possibly appeal to you — it’s a dug-over patch of ground in an orchard, a wicker fence and two peach trees in full bloom, pink against a sparkling blue sky with white clouds and in sunshine. You may well see it, since I’ve decided to send this one to [Ariette] Mauve. I’ve written on it ‘Souvenir de Mauve -Vincent and Theo’.”