The medals of a First World War veteran who was deadlier than the legendary Red Baron have sold for over £7,000.
US-born Captain Frederick Gillet (23 years) was the first to join operations with Royal Flying Corps. He was only three months old at the time and claimed 20 lives.
In five minutes, he had three Fokker planes.
He was able to finish the war with 14 Fokkers and three Albatross planes as victims.
Capt Gillet was more successful than Manfred von Richthofen, the German ace known as Red Baron who had 80 kills in just 19 months prior to his March 1918 death.
Capt Gillet was born at Baltimore in 1895. After being refused by the air force of his homeland, he moved to Britain. In 1969, at age 74, he died after returning to the USA.
Captain Frederick Gillet (1995-1969), started flying with Royal Flying Corps operations in August 1918. He claimed 20 lives in three months.
The medals of a First World War flying ace Captain Gillet, who was deadlier than the legendary Red Baron, have sold for over £7,000.
His medals were sold by a private collector with London-based auctioneers Spink & Son, fetching a hammer price of £5,800. With extra fees, the final figure paid by the buyer was £7,200.
The destruction of the kite balloon North of Estaires, France was his first win on August 3, 1918.
He would have had 126 kills if Capt Gillet kept his strike rate.
He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for shooting down a kite balloon east of Armentieres, which was being defended by an enemy aircraft. He dropped down, fired 200 rounds and caused the kite balloon to come to a halt at 100 yards.
Capt Gillet then moved toward the balloon and, firing 50 rounds, was able to see it close enough to fire.
In his combat report, he wrote: “I dived through clouds east Armentieres in order to attack a Kite Balloon. When I came to the K.B. At 1,500 feet, an enemy plane flew by me.
“I opened my throttle, and I dived onto him firing approximately 200 rounds from a distance of about 100 meters. The E.A. The E.A. dived. The E.A. followed me. The E.A. was followed and I fired 150 more rounds at close range. The E.A. The E.A.
‘I turned west toward the balloon, which was being pulled to its down position. There I fired 50 rounds and dropped two bombs close by the winch.
Captain Gillet was awarded a Belgian Croix de Guerre. He left the RAF on March 1919 to return to the USA to start a business. He was 74 when he died in 1969.
Three Fokker aircraft were added to Capt Gillet’s total in just five minutes. With 14 Fokkers and three kite balloons, the pilot ended war with three Albatross planes as his victims in November 1918.
“The balloon was brought down, and it appeared that it was deflating.”
Three Fokkers were attacked during a patrol near Besseghem on November 4, 1918. He was awarded a DFC and a bar.
Capt Gillet downed one enemy plane and two others collided in chaos.
This statement reads: “A pilot of great speed and skill who has destroyed twelve enemy aircraft since the 3rd August 1918.
‘On 29 September when on low patrol, they attacked three Fokkers. One of them was driven down and the other fell to flames.
Captain Gillet was awarded a Belgian Croix de Guerre and left the RAF on March 1919 to return to the USA to start a business.
He was 74 when he died in 1969.
Marcus Budgen, head of the medal department at Spink & Son, said: ‘The medals of Captain ‘Razors’ Gillet represent one of the finest and most successful American airmen of the Great War.
“The Red Baron had 80 kills between September 1916 and March 1918, so Gillet’s speed was faster.
His medal group includes the Distinguished Flying Cross, British War Medal; USA Victory Medal and Belgian Croix de Guerre.