I was very lucky to have the chance to meet Gunther Rall at his home near Bad Reichenhall in Bavaria before he passed away. Rall is the third highest scoring ace of all time with an astonishing 275 victories to his name. He was a Battle of France, Battle of Britain and Eastern Front veteran and post-war remained in the Luftwaffe, becoming a fast-jet pilot and taking to the skies in the ill-fated Starfighter. That day I met him, he was in a good form – charming, erudite, and bringing measured analysis to his experiences. It was, of course, a privilege to meet him. At the time, I was working on a new history of the Battle of Britain and it was important to me that I told the story not just from the narrow viewpoint of Britain’s experience, but in the round. The German perspective is both fascinating and important.
The other day, I was asked about Gunther Rall and I admitted I had interviewed him, then realised I’d never quite got around to posting it up on my website. So here it is. I hope anyone who reads it will find it interesting.