Like most of my stories, the ‘Red Baron’s Daughter’ (from The Feast of Saint Anne) was inspired by historical people, including the Luke Edwards’ character who was based heavily on Frank Luke, a tragic hero and legendary American fighter pilot in WWI. Luke was the quintessential ‘loose canon’ and was disliked by many of his fellow pilots for his tendency to fly alone and disobey orders. Much as this sort of thing is romanticized in Hollywood, in the battlefield it quickly becomes a liability. The only person he consistently flew with was his friend, Lt. Joseph Wehner, who would typically fly cover while Frank took down German observation balloons. After Wehner was killed in a dogfight with the German’s on Sept 18th, 1918, Luke when on a rampage, scoring a blistering 18 victories flying ten sorties in 8 days. After the final two – both German observation balloons – he was shot down and crashed behind enemy lines, allegedly crawling out of his wrecked Spad to a nearby stream where he pulled out his side arm and fire a few rounds at approaching German Soldiers before succumbing to his wounds. His whole story reads like an epic movie, yet oddly he is largely forgotten today except for military history buffs. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Daring hero? Obsessed killing machine? A little of both, I think. I hope he rests in peace.
About the Author
Writer, 3d artist, Designer...lurking somewhere in the Hudson Valley.