The Red Baron left his home in Oxford in such a hurry that he forgot to pay for his shoe repair
Baron von Richthofen is credited with being the ace of aces of the First World War with 80 air combat victories to his name.
But before the conflict he was a student at Oxford – and was in such a hurry to get back to his homeland he left an unpaid bill for 9s 10d for a pair of shoes.
Von Richthofen was killed in the final year of the conflict at the age of 25 after being shot down in Northern France.
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Baron von Richthofen is known as being the ace of aces of the First World War
Descendants of the family came in and the bill was mentioned in a joke and it was paid in the 1970s
Bob Avery, shop manager
His debt remained outstanding for more than 60 years until a descendant heard about it and paid up in the late 1970s.
The story has emerged from the historic ledgers of world-famous shoemakers Ducker & Son in Oxford's Turl Street who are closing after 119 years of business.
An entry in the leather-bound 1914 ledger shows a 'not paid' note on the bill the Baron had while he was a student at Oxford's Lincoln College.
Shop manager Bob Avery said the outstanding bill was settled by the fighter pilot's descendants in the late 1970s.
He added: "Descendants of the family came in and the bill was mentioned in a joke and it was paid then.
"A few weeks ago some other family members came in and they recalled how the bill had been paid."
The Baron's bill was for 9s 10d for a pair of shoes
Eleven historic ledgers from the shop, which opened in 1898, are being auctioned.
They cover the years 1910-1958 and are expected to fetch up to £6,000.
Shoemakers Ducker & Son in Oxford's Turl Street who are closing after 119 years of business First World War in colour Tue, July 29, 2014
The devastating events of the First World War were captured in myriad photographs on all sides of the front. Since then, thousands of books of black-and-white photographs of the war have been published as all nations endeavour to comprehend the scale and the carnage of the “greatest catastrophe of the 20th century”. Far less familiar are the rare colour images of the First World War, taken at the time by a small group of photographers pioneering recently developed autochrome technology. To mark the centenary of the outbreak of war, TASCHEN has produced this groundbreaking volume bringing together all of these remarkable, fully hued pictures of the „war to end war“. Assembled from archives in Europe, the United States and Australia.
Jules Gervais-Courtellemont / TASCHEN 1 of 11
French warplane, Caudron G3, 1914. The First World War was the first time air warfare played a role in combat. Together the British and the French had at their disposal about the same number of airplanes as the Germans. Aerial reconnaissance by the Royal Flying Corps contributed considerably to the stopping of the German advance on the Marne
Another famous name in them include Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien who bought a pair of football boots in 1913 when he was a student at Exeter College.
Other well-heeled customers include author Evelyn Waugh, Rowan Atkinson, Jeremy Clarkson and Eddie Jordan of Formula 1.
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