British Air Forces 1914 - 1918, Images of War

Lorenzol

Well-Known Member
"Sagittarius Rising" and both of Lee's book are a great place to start Lorenzo.

I'd add V.M. Yeates' "Winged Victory" and almost suggest it as the first to read. It is probably the most brutally honest. It is effectively Yeates' experiences as a Sopwith Camel pilot which he wrote as a novel so he could write with absolute honesty. It's utterly incredible with some of the best combat descriptions I've read, in parts it's unbelievably intense. It was so well regarded that at the start of WWII copies were trading hands for £5 (an astronomical figure at the time) among RAF pilots because it was considered the closest depiction to what air warfare was actually like in a book.
Wow. It's going to be "Winged Victory" for a start then. Though I'd noticed it, I had passed it up on account of it being a novel (fiction) as opposed to an actual pilot's memoir. But you are making a very good point there Tim. This forum is awesome....
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
Wow. It's going to be "Winged Victory" for a start then. Though I'd noticed it, I had passed it up on account of it being a novel (fiction) as opposed to an actual pilot's memoir. But you are making a very good point there Tim. This forum is awesome....
Yeates wrote it as a novel so he could write with honesty - remember this was a time when stout British chaps didn't make a big fuss, or a song and a dance about things, and you certainly never tried to be terribly expressive especially with "weaknesses" and human frailty. By writing in the third person Yeates freed himself to be far more honest and truthful.

It's easily one of the best books I have read and not just aviation memoirs/accounts. He was an exceedingly talented writer.

You are in for a terrific treat!
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
And as this is appropriate, this is 80 Sqn (but before Yeates joined them).

This is one of my favourite squadron group shots from any war, it's just brilliant and amazingly I don't think I've posted it before which is a travesty.

(Click on the pic for larger res)

 

Lorenzol

Well-Known Member
Yeates wrote it as a novel so he could write with honesty - remember this was a time when stout British chaps didn't make a big fuss, or a song and a dance about things, and you certainly never tried to be terribly expressive especially with "weaknesses" and human frailty. By writing in the third person Yeates freed himself to be far more honest and truthful.

It's easily one of the best books I have read and not just aviation memoirs/accounts. He was an exceedingly talented writer.

You are in for a terrific treat!
I've just read that Yeates' proposed title for his book was "Wingless Victor". He was overruled by his editor, who proposed the book's current title. Quite a contrast in the two titles....
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
I've just read that Yeates' proposed title for his book was "Wingless Victor". He was overruled by his editor, who proposed the book's current title. Quite a contrast in the two titles....
I imagine they thought it would damage sales. Whatever is on the cover, what is inside is a masterpiece.
 
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