|The Myths Around and About Wop May.
So many details have been, and are still, wrong in various publications. We thought it may be interesting to list them... so, here’s a start:
Myth: "Wop" got his nickname because:
- he was an illegal immigrant;
- it’s the sound a propellor makes;
- he whopped the enemy;
- he learned to fly on the Westland "Wapiti."
Fact: None of those are correct "Wop" got his nickname when a 2 year old cousin could not pronounce Wilfrid - she tried & it came out "Woppie", got shortened to "Wop" and stuck. And the Westland "Wapiti" was not built until 1927 - Wop learned to fly in 1917 on a French built Caudron G.III.
Myth: Wop’s name is spelled Wilfred (in almost every publication)
Fact: Wop’s name is spelled Wilfrid - after Sir Wilfrid Laurier
Myth: Ace Wop May shot down 7 German aircraft (in many publications)
Fact: Ace Wop may was credited with 13 German Aircraft, and there were 4 other
"probables". The figure 7 was mentioned in Dispatches when he was awarded the D.F.C. in 1918.
Myths about Baron Manfred von Richthofen
Myth: From the Book "Aces Twilight" p.64 - Bullets sewed a trail of holes along the triplane’s fuselage. AND The following day, a British aircraft flew over the German airfield at Cappy.......
Fact: Neither of these events happened - A Vickers machine gun mounted in an aircraft will not shoot bullets in a straight line and from photographs of the wreckage there were no holes in the elevators or spine of the aircraft as you can see in this photo, AND it was not till after the funeral that the Germans were sure of what happened to Richthofen.
Myth: From the book "Flashback Canada" distributed in Ontario Schools p.314 - The Red Baron was hit and fell into a deadly spin. AND Today the seat of the Red Baron’s plane is displayed at the Royal Military Institute in Toronto. You can put your finger through the bullet hole in the seat.
Fact: Both statements are wrong: The Red Baron did not spin, but rather crash landed and died talking to a British soldier on the ground, AND while the seat is on display at the Royal Canadian Military Institute in Toronto the hole in the seat is in fact where the seat was fastened to the frame of the aircraft as you can see in these photos.
Myth: The holes in the back of the seat at the R.C.M.I. are bullet holes.
Fact:The seven holes, drilled precisely 2 mm apart are mounting holes where the Aluminum seat was fastened to the frame behind.
It’s very obvious in these two photos...
Myth: The "Flying Circus" was given that name because the aircraft were painted bright colours.
Fact: It is correct that the aircraft were painted in bright colours & designs as you can see in this photo however the “Flying Circus” was given that name because, like a circus, it could pack up it’s tents, gather all it’s equipment and move to a new location very quickly.
Myth: "Billy" Bishop shot down the Red Baron.
Fact: Nobody will ever know for sure who shot down the Red Baron. Many have claimed to be the one, however only three contenders are “in the running”- Flight Commander Roy Brown had a good chance in the air and two soldiers on the Ground. Nobody was officially credited with bringing down the Red Baron.