Fallen Eagles, Airmen Who Survived the Great War Only to Die in Peacetime

Ninety three pilots have been profiled in an unusual and effective book. Extensively researched and illustrated, this is a very efficient review of pilots who survived against all the odds during the Great War, only to be killed during the peace that followed – Highly Recommended.


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NAME: Fallen Eagles, Airmen Who Survived the Great War Only to Die 
in Peacetime
FILE: R2485
AUTHOR: Norman Franks
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES:  244
PRICE: £25.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWI, World War One, World War 1, First World War, The Great 
War, aviation, peacetime fatalities, RAF, RNAS, RFC, pilots, aircrew, 
record breakers, races, civil aviation, pioneers, Middle East, minor 
wars

ISBN: 1-47387-996-5

IMAGE: B2485.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/mwadj5q
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: Ninety three pilots have been profiled in an unusual and 
effective book. Extensively researched and illustrated, this is a 
very efficient review of pilots who survived against all the odds 
during the Great War, only to be killed during the peace that followed 
– Highly Recommended.

Death at any time, and under any circumstances, is always unwelcome, 
leaving family and friends to grieve, but particularly poignant are 
those warriors who fall in the last minutes of a conflict, or survive, 
only to die in peacetime. This is particularly true of aviators who 
survived the Great War, only to meet their end in one of a variety of 
ways after the end of that great conflict.

In 1914, aviation was a very young activity. In the decade from the 
flight of the Wright Brothers, the technical progress had been amazing. 
There was a host of designers and builders who produced the most diverse 
designs during this decade. A major challenge was always in finding an 
acceptable engine for each new design, but there were still huge gaps in 
knowledge of aeronautics. The deadly spin was not yet understood. Flying 
controls were still being experimented with, and even basic 
configurations were hotly debated. Designers were often individuals who 
then had to construct their designs and learn to fly them. There were no 
manuals, these would be written by the survivors and there were few of 
these. Flying was a deadly activity that offered great risk but little 
prospect of success.

The Germans made great advances in developing lighter than air vehicles, 
with the great Zeppelins offering the best prospects of success in 
military aviation because they could lift bombs and guns which were far 
beyond the capacity of the first frail aeroplanes, and then carry them 
considerable distances at a time when a long range aeroplane was amazing 
if it managed to travel one hundred miles. The Royal Navy was the only 
military organization to consider how flight might enable it to do its 
job better. Armies only saw aircraft as an alternative to cavalry scouts, 
locating an enemy and identifying his intentions. The Royal Navy initially 
considered flight as a method of seeing further to direct the big guns of 
battleships and experimented between 1903 and 1908 with man-carrying kites 
towed by vessels from open pulling boats through to battleships, and in a 
range of sea and weather conditions. Before the completion of these 
trials, the RN was already looking at powered aircraft and selected 
officers to undergo training at the first military flying training school. 
Those first naval aviators were then given the task of identifying all of 
the missions that aircraft could be developed to perform in support of the 
Fleet as it carried out its orders. At that time the RN did not have 
control of its naval aviation assets, but had a Fleet Air Arm alongside the 
army aviators under War Office control, but it then undertook a period of 
lobbying and was allowed to form the Royal Naval Air Service just weeks 
before the outbreak of the Great War. It celebrated by successfully 
dropping a torpedo from a seaplane and was building a stock of weapons to 
be carried by its aircraft.

Even with the efforts of the Germans and the Royal Navy, aviation was 
clearly in its very early experimental stages. The Great War demanded a 
massive expansion of aviation and that inevitably meant that aviators were 
young, fresh from school in many cases, and with very few hours flight 
experience before they were placed in harms way. It was therefore 
unsurprising that the mortality rate was horrific. Pilots had a life 
expectancy of days on the Western Front. Many fell, not to the enemy, but 
from the failure of their aircraft or their lack of understanding of 
critical aspects of flying.

The pilots reviewed in this book had first survived terrible combat 
conditions and the risks of being pioneers of a new environment. They had 
matured and were amongst the most knowledgeable and experienced flyers. In 
theory, peacetime should reduce their risks but, for many, this was not to 
be the case.

Many survivors took risky jobs to be able to continue flying. This included 
test pilots, those providing entertainment in Flying Circus displays, 
participating in air races, and undertaking record attempts, particularly in 
long distance record attempts. Then there was a multitude of minor conflicts 
around the world that attracted experienced military flyers. Here, not only 
was there an enemy firing back, but also the dangers of continuing to fly 
Great War aircraft in some of the most inhospitable conditions with a lack of 
spares.

The author has selected ninety three pilots who provide a very well selected 
cross section of flying tasks in the peacetime period that followed the Great 
War. The illustration includes some very rare images in support of the text, 
to provide a very rewarding read.