The German fighter pilot Baron Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen, better known as the Red Baron, was shot down and killed.
Richthofen was born into the German aristocracy in 1892. He began military training when he was 11 years old, and served as a cavalry reconnaissance officer in the early months of the First World War. However, the advent of trench warfare made the cavalry virtually obsolete and his unit was disbanded.
Frustrated at being reassigned to non-combative roles, Richthofen applied to the Imperial German Army Air Service and was granted permission to join in May 1915. Having begun as an observer on reconnaissance missions, he began to train as a pilot in October and joined one of the first German fighter squadrons the following year.
Richthofen quickly gained a reputation as a formidable fighter pilot. Having scored his first confirmed victory on 17 September 1916, Richthofen went on to shoot down a total of 80 enemy aircraft although only 19 of these were made in the red Fokker Dr. I triplane that is commonly associated with him. As a squadron leader Richthofen ensured that his squadron followed the Dicta Boelcke, a series of formalised tactical rules for air combat that had been developed by his mentor, Oswald Boelcke.
Richthofen was fatally wounded over Morlancourt Ridge near the village of Vaux-sur-Somme. Despite the single bullet severely damaging his heart and lungs he managed to land his aircraft in a field before he died. He was buried with full military honours by No. 3 Squadron of the Australian Flying Corps in France, although his remains now lie in Richthofen family grave.