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Downing the Red Devil Royal Flying Corps Log Book


downing the red baron

Downing the Red Baron

This important and historic log book has been professionally researched and features in the June 2024 issue of Iron Cross periodical.

William Drummond Matheson pilots log book

1 in stock


This is the rare Great War Royal Flying Corps Log Book of 2nd Lieutenant William Drummond Matheson M.C. which is notably historic in its recording of driving down the Red Devil, known as the Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen.
New Glasgow, Pictou County , Nova Scotia, Canada native Second Lieutenant William ‘Drummond’ Matheson MC was a First World War Canadian flying ‘ace’. His 3rd aerial victory was the driving down of the German Scout of the “Red Devil” Baron von Richthoven. This is duly noted in his log book entry for this day. Importantly this action was independently witnessed and corroborated by a crew of 16 Squadron.


Aerial Victory record:
No. 1  date 22nd October 1916 FE.2b German Scout Destroyed Southwest of Seclin
No. 2 date 22nd November 1916 FE.2b Enemy aircraft Driven down Arras
No. 3 date 24th January 1917 FE.2b German scout Driven down Mericourt (Red Devil – von Richthofen)

No. 4 date 4th March 1917 FE.2b Enemy aircraft Destroyed Courrieres
No. 5  date 16th March 1917 FE.2b Enemy aircraft Driven down Neuvireuil



His citation for the Military Cross, published in the Supplement to the London Gazette 11th May 1917 pp 4991, states: “Temp. 2nd Lt. William Drummond Matheson, Genl. List and R.F.C. — For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in leading a formation of eight machines against 16 of the enemy. He drove down one hostile machine and eventually succeeded in landing his machine safely in spite of being attacked by several enemy machines. On other occasions he has brought down four hostile machines.”
W. Drummond Matheson had a deep mechanical industrial type background: his father, William G. Matheson, owned I. Matheson and Company, one of the most important and well-established engineering and boiler-making businesses in the Maritimes; his mother, Christina Carmichael, was the daughter of famous James Carmichael, shipbuilder of New Glasgow. His parents wanted Drummond to work in the family business, so in 1905 at the age of 15, he attended St. Andrews College in Ontario, to learn and further his mechanical engineering education. He completed this schooling in 1910 and continued working on his career. William Drummond Matheson
When Canada declared war in 1915, Drummond signed up with the Royal Flying Corps as an air mechanic; he was immediately sent to the Wright Flying School in Augusta, Georgia, for pilot training on the Wright Biplane. Then he embarked to join the Royal Air Force’s 25th Squadron, which was stationed in Northern France along the Western battle front.
He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant (on Probation) on 12 November 1916 and continued to serve with #25 Squadron from 12 Nov 1916 – 16 March 1917. Wounded by machine gun fire, his left foot had to be amputated. After his hospitalization in Canada, on 2 Oct 1918 he was posted to the School of Special Flying; and on 19 Dec 1918 he was again posted, this time to Headquarters. His medals were never claimed.

Downing the Red Devil

BIRTH – 7 Aug 1890, New Glasgow, Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Canada. DEATH – 14 Dec 1961 (aged 71), New Glasgow, Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Canada.
BURIAL – Lorne Street Cemetery, New Glasgow, Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Nova Scotia Death record – William Drummond Matheson died 1961 in New Glasgow, Pictou County; death record can be found in Registration Year: 1961 – Page: 6781. Married, he died at home, on Almont Street in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, at the age of 71 years, 4 months, 7 days. At the time of his death he was a Royal Canadian Air Force pensioner; he was a mechanical engineer. Son of William G. and Christine (née Carmichael) Matheson; husband of Jean (née Ross) Matheson; father of Carrie Ann. His wife Mrs. Drummond Matheson of Almonte Street, was the informant on his death certificate. William Drummond Matheson was laid to rest on 7 Dec 1961 in the Lorne Street Cemetery.

This Log Book has been the subject of an in-depth research project by military historian and author Mark Hillier and features in the June edition of Iron Cross magazine, a copy of which will accompany the Log Book.

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Downing the Red Devil Downing the Red Devil

Downing the Red Devil Downing the Red Devil