Military AircrewA forum for the professionals who fly the non-civilian hardware, and the backroom boys and girls without whom nothing would leave the ground. Army, Navy and Airforces of the World, all equally welcome here.
One of the most memorable events of my life was touring France in the area where so much of the trench warfare took place during WWI. Standing in cemeteries filled with gravestones of all the different armies, whether friend or foe, filled me with emotion. One cannot be a soldier, having experienced combat, and not feel the loss all those graves portray. Each one marks a family's loss felt just as much no matter who they are.
I led a squadron of cadets who laid crosses on war graves with the British Legion. I insisted that all graves were visited, crosses laid and salutes offered, regardless of nationality. The parents thought it was correct, as did the cadets and RBL.
Some of them attended the same school and enjoyed comradeship that might have endured, before different countries called them to battle. I have supported my son's school Remembrance Day and we saluted them all.
Definately yes. Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron) The commanding officer of 3 Sqn, Major David Blake suggested initially that Richthofen had been killed by the crew of one of his squadron's RE8s, which had also fought Richthofen's unit that afternoon. However, following an autopsy that he witnessed, Blake became a strong proponent of the view that an AA machine gunner had killed Richthofen.
In common with most Allied air officers, Blake regarded Manfred von Richthofen with great respect, and he organized a full military funeral. Richthofen was buried in the cemetery at the village of Bertangles near Amiens on 22 April 1918. Six airmen with the rank of captain — the same rank as Richthofen — served as pallbearers, and a guard of honor of six Australian soldiers fired a salute. Other Allied squadrons presented memorial wreaths.
I generally agree with the thrust of this thread although it is difficult to understand how anyone can be forced to pay respects. Respect is something you have to earn...A concept many of our lords and masters fail to grasp.
However, any person who wears the uniform of his/her country and is prepared to die to protect the freedom of their country gains my respect.
I think you need to look no further than the American Civil War. There were officers on both sides who had attended the same courses at West Point, and were in many battles, Gettysburg being one, but on opposing sides. They treated each other with the utmost respect.
But are there not exceptions? Herman Göring, for example. Hans Ulrich Rudel? Some of the lads who quite cheerfully shot at our boys in their parachutes? Who strafed columns of women and children? I don't know the answer - I'm just asking the question.
War by its very nature makes bad guys out of all of us. I think that had the mainland UK been invaded by thousands of military parachutists our boys would have been out shooting them as they descended as well. War criminals only exist on the loosing side. Had we lost WW II you good bet 100% that Harris would have been hung by the Germans as a war criminal. Our boys new during the fire bombing of Dresden that 60% of the population beneath them were women and children.
There are atrocities committed by every side in every war, and i dont pretend to understand why. War releases the animal within. Maybe those at the top of the tree should be held accountable, but the normal Soldier,Sailor, airman dies doing their 'job'.