Gottfried Freiherr (Baron) von Banfield, known as the 'Eagle of Trieste', being probably the only flying ace who flew a flying boat fighter to nine or more victories. Banfield's 9 confirmed and 11 unconfirmed air-kills make him the most successful Austro-Hungarian naval airplane fighter, and he holds a place among the best flying aces of Austria-Hungary. In 1917, he received the Dual Monarchy's most honorable military award, the Order of Maria Theresa.
After the First World War, the city of Trieste was annexed by Italy, and Gottfried was for a time imprisoned by the occupation police. In 1920 he emigrated to England and became a British subject. He married Countess Maria Tripcovich of Trieste. They settled in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where their son Raphael Douglas, known to the world as the composer Raffaello de Banfield Tripcovich, was born in 1922. In 1926, Gottfried took Italian nationality and returned to Trieste to become Director of the Diodato Tripcovich and Co. Trieste Shipping-Company, which he took over from his father-in-law. Trieste Company ships then sailed under the Italian flag. Banfield became a celebrity of the city, usually called 'Our Baron', 'Il nostro Barone'.
You can read more about Banfield here. In our next book, the Baron will make a brief but very important appearance.
A portrait of Gottfried von Banfield by Karl Sterrer (Military History Museum, Vienna) via Wikimedia Commons