Another great air ace met his death in similar circumstances that Spring. Major Edward ‘Mick’ Mannock, officially Britain’s highest-scoring fighter pilot of the war, was an enigmatic character with a deep hatred for the Germans, an uncommon trait in most air services where chivalrous and sporting attitudes prevailed – at least in the early days. Mannock began his combat career in May 1917 and soon racked up a respectable score earning awards and promotions. He had his own ideas on fighter tactics and employed these with great success in every unit with which he served. His one fear was being burnt alive and, in common with many pilots, carried a pistol aloft for use ‘in extremis’. In July, Mannock broke his own rules. Following a successful attack on a German two-seater, he flew at ground level over German troop positions where he was met with a hail of bullets. His SE5a caught fire and crashed in flames behind enemy lines.