Buckle and strap from overalls : Baron Manfred von Richthofen, Geschwader 1, German Air Service

Accession Number RELAWM15900
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Uniform
Physical description Cotton, Leather, Metal, Plastic
Maker Unknown
Place made Germany
Date made c 1914-1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Two part leather strap and buckle which have been cut from a garment. One section has a natural leather tongue with eight adjustment holes, while the other, also of natural leather, ends in a black painted buckle with a rotating collar. Both sections are strongly stitched to small fragments of fabric, parts of the garment from which the buckle was originally removed. The fabric is composed of two sections, the outer being a fine grey-green woollen material, while the inner (lining) fabric is a double layer of felt-like cotton material, one layer being pink in colour, the other grey.

History / Summary

Frank Ronald Rawlinson enlisted in the AIF in August 1916, and served as 424A 2nd Class Air Mechanic with 3 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps. He was present at the autopsy conducted on the body of Baron Manfred von Richthofen by the 3 Sqn doctor on the evening of 21 April 1918, and states that this item was the 'top buckle strap' removed from the Baron's flying overalls at this time. Rawlinson collected this item, together with another piece of fabric from the flying suit, a section of machine gun belt, and the foot step and a section of fabric from Fokker Dr I 425/17 in which von Richthofen was shot down and killed. All these items were subsequently acquired by the Australian War Memorial.