War Birds, The Diary of a Great War Pilot

This book has come to print partly because of a pact between two pilots. In the event of the diarist dying, his comrade would continue the diary. The number of American volunteers joining the RAF during the Great War was mostly due to impatience at the US sending warplanes to Europe. Highly Recommended.


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NAME: War Birds, The Diary of a Great War Pilot
FILE: R2439
AUTHOR:  Elliot White Springs, John MacGavock Grider, annotated by 
Lt Horace Fulford
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword, frontline
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES:  258
PRICE: £25.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWI, World War 1, World War One, First World War, Great War, 
American volunteers, pilots, fighter pilots, SE5, RAF
ISBN: 978-1-47387-959-1
IMAGE: B2439.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/zeydnit
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: This book has come to print partly because of a pact 
between two pilots. In the event of the diarist dying, his comrade 
would continue the diary. The number of American volunteers joining 
the RAF during the Great War was mostly due to impatience at the US 
sending warplanes to Europe. Highly Recommended. 

The Great War saw volunteers joining the British Forces in some 
numbers. This included Irish defying the Republican movement and US 
citizens, some of whom joined as 'Canadians'. Two US citizens joined 
the Royal Flying Corps in 1917 and then were transferred into the RAF 
on its formation in 1918. Elliott White Springs kept a diary of his 
service. Shortly before his untimely death in 1918 he made a pact with 
one of his comrades, John MacGavock Grider, that Grider would continue 
the diary if he died. The combined work was first published in 1927. 
A copy of the  composite diary then came to another officer from 85 
Squadron, Lt Horace Fulford. Fulford then made a number of hand written 
annotations and stuck in a number of his own photographs. This 
annotated copy, together with drawings by Clayton Knight, is the basis 
of this new edition under the frontline imprint of Pen & Sword.

Springs and Grider have produce a record that adds greatly to the pool 
of available knowledge of WWI aviation. It provides a graphic account 
of the stresses of training and the terrors and elations of aerial 
combat. This text is well-supported by many photographs and drawings 
through the body of the book, many very rare or unique to War Birds.

The two diarists joined the RFC at a time when it was equipped with 
effective combat aircraft after the early years of being entirely 
dependent on the uninspiring products of the Government Aircraft 
Factory. Unlike the RFC, the Royal Naval Air Service started WWI 
with integrated weapon systems, designed to meat the RN's functional 
specifications, from commercial defence contractors. As a result, the 
aircraft performed well at their introduction to service and matched 
the enemy aircraft, or exceeded their capabilities. This allowed the 
RNAS to drop bombs on German airships destructively, launch 
torpedoes against enemy ships, drop depth bombs on submerged 
submarines and launch strategic bombing attacks on the German 
homeland. It also ensured that RNAS aircraft included effective 
fighters that inspired competing German types, such as the Fokker 
Triplane that was inspired by the RNAS-operated Sopwith Triplane.

Against the RNAS aircraft designs, the RFC was equipped by frail 
obsolescent aircraft from the GAF that were only expected to be used 
as aerial scouts, reporting the strength and deployment of German 
troops. This produced some heavy RFC casualties, until the RFC was 
permitted to procure aircraft from commercial manufacturers and the 
GAF finally got its act together with the excellent SE5 designs that 
soon began to produce a respectable kill rate.

This book is important at several levels. The American perspective is 
much under-represented in the collection of books by those who fought 
in the air above the Western Front. In offering this view, it also 
demonstrates the frustration many young Americans felt about the US 
involvement in the air war over Europe. The text and illustrations 
provide a powerful presentation of young pilots at the edge of 
technology in the first air war