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4.3 out of 5 stars22
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 15 June 2010
A remarkable narrative of a member of the Royal Flying Corps, Guy Mainwaring Knocker, a meticulous recorder of experiences over the Western Front and Home Service. Amongst his many episodes of combat, his 'trench strafing' adventures provide a unique insight into low-level flying and attendant dangers and mostly not knowing how effective the attack had been! As a skilled sketch artist, many of his drawings are included and it would be appropriate if his complete works could be compiled and published at a later date. The detail is superb and I found the account an absorbing read, learning so much more about the aerial fighting of the First World War. Highly recommended.

As an aside, the copy of the book I have has a dust jacket illustration which differs from the one appearing on the Amazon site, the main difference being a head and shoulder portrait of the Pilot
over a side elevation of a Sopwith Camel and a Albatros DV. Ken Fergusson
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on 15 March 2010
An interesting, well thought out piece of writing by Chris Burgess, using Guy Knockers original diaries and drawings. This book takes you right back to those dark days, yet is brightened with some rays of laughter.
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on 10 June 2015
A good attempt and with much useful material unknown before but just a little bit retrospective ints flow. Because all of the WW1 veterans are dead now a lot of these books are written from diaries or letters and somehow dont quite read as good as other works written right after the time they were experienced such as Into the Blue by Norman Macmillan, Flying Fury by McCudden VC or An Air Fighters Scrapbook, or Tiger Squadron by Taffy Jones. As a book about this relatively unknown man it is good as a work of merit alongside other WW1 diary books, it suffers slightly. If you have not read a WW1 pilots book before then this will be a good starting point but is a bit dry compared to other, earlier written works with input from the pilots themselves. Paul Davies Cross and Cocade Society.
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on 7 September 2014
How it was to be young and fancy free ...flying high - doing your own thing then thrust into the mud and blood bonechewing caudron of The Western Front. Yet this young man seemed to take it all in his stride as though it were just a fantastic adventure maybe he thought he could live forever like so many young men do in such straitened circumstances. He comes over as being a very gifted pilot he was lucky ... very unusually for the time he did get a really fully fledged.. an excellent flying start to prepare him for his future wartime career as a Sopwith Camel pilot.

Perhaps this accident of fate was due to his being of a strong and influential military family and perhaps he was being groomed for a long service career in The Flying Corps. He was still expected to perform - when he started flying in earnest he was exposed to just as much danger as any other officer flying on The Western Front in a Sopwith Camel squadron and that certainly was a really dangerous place to be. As an aside when he was badly wounded in the leg and by sheer good luck met his sister in a field hospital ... she attended to his by no means insignificant injury and sent him home to recover maybe this injury saved his life because his squadron was being increasingly put to the dangerous task of trench strafing. Thos dangerous occupation had no respect for the abilities needed to survive a dogfight, the odds of surviving for long in a squadron used for trench strafing were horrific.

By an amazing coincidence I read about his sister shortly after in a newspaper ( (The Times or The Guardian) who had volunteered for nursing duties at The Front very early in the war. Apparently she got some award or mention for her services and her bravery it was noted that she was working a casualty clearing station so close to the front lines that she actually met and spoke to the german troops and rescued wounded men Germans British and French from their own trenches and out in no-mans land on numerous occasions Her second name was Knocker i gather the family changed their name to Mainwaring later on I view that someone should investigate and write about this extraordinarily brave womans story.
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on 23 August 2014
Lacks a lot detail which would have made it a lot more interesting, repeats time & time again the same details and feelings
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on 21 October 2014
Being brutally honest about a brutal conflict, my final comment on struggling to complete this, was he was a bit of a whinger and in comparison to other theaters of the war, was extremely well off.
I know this is a contentious comment, after all he was very young, but after reading One Young Man .. The simple true story of a clerk who enlisted in 1914 and fought on the Western Front, that really makes the above Pilot look pale in comparison.
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on 17 April 2016
Superb reading and generally simple to follow. Sometimes think you're reading same thing twice but one is an extract from his diary and another (same events but toned down!) for letters home. Like the honesty when he is relieved flying is off because of the poor weather. You also get to realise how much "down" time there actually was, yet at times they had lots of fun, even without drink!
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on 6 September 2014
Very interesting and surprising at times e.g 'much safer not to strap yourself into a pusher aircraft, like an FE 2, because you can then be thrown out in a crash and not have the engine hit you in the back'.
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on 23 September 2014
Interesting but not very informative, too much repetition, it could have benefitted by some careful editing as the Pilot
in question was a very young man still very much a schoolboy.
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on 25 February 2015
Always interested in the people side of history, and this puts meat on the bones of history.
Moving at time, it brings home the human loss of the first world war.
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