A find


I have a Kindle for travelling, but it doesn’t stop me looking for a bargain if any bookshops cross my path.

Today I found this in a tiny emporium which sells wool, craft items and books (good combination).  It kept me happily absorbed all the way on the train.

In the early chapters about how the first pilots were recruited and learned to fly, the anecdotes are compounded of the terrifying and the absurd:

“I learned to fly at Hendon in 1914 … I learnt on Caudrons. … the stall point and the maximum speed were very nearly the same. The engine was going flat out all the time you were flying and if it stopped for a fraction of a second, the machine came down as though you were falling down stairs.  One thing I remember – the Caudron burnt neat castor oil and the pupil inhaled a good deal of it with the result that we all needed to go to the lavatory constantly.”  (p65-66)  (Not the only reason, I should think….)

Then there’s the pilot who fell out of his aeroplane at 6000 feet and lived to tell his story, including the immortal words “The first 2000 feet passed very quickly…”  This tale may well be the most outrageously improbable thing I’ve ever heard.

I’m just getting into the chapters about aerial combat.  The young Biggles is a lurking shadow in the corner of my mind.


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