Quotes by Richard Rumbold

Author of The Winged Life: A Portrait of Antoine De Saint-Exupéry, Poet and Airman

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Since the war he had read in a magazine an account of Saint- Exupéry's last flight, and on referring back to his war diaries had discovered that, on 31st July, 1944, a Focke-Wulf pilot on patrol over Ajaccio in Corsica reported the destruction of a re connaissance machine which fell into sea in flames after combat. This incident had occurred at about midday, when the Focke- Wulf was patrolling at between fifteen and sixteen thousand feet, at which height it is slightly faster than the Lightning. Korth's theory was that it had shot down Saint-Exupéry's plane as he was dropping off height before re-crossing the coast to return to base; the sun, too, would have been full in his face, and might have blinded him to the approach of the enemy plane. Korth's account ended: I am only a pariah, but I beg you to send my good wishes to the comrades of Saint-Exupéry's Squadron; they won't despise the greetings of a veteran German pilot writing from a Germany in despair, and who has French blood in his veins, for my mother, born in Lorraine, was a Frenchwoman.

Richard Rumbold, The Winged Life, N.Y.: David McKay Company, 1953