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A Fitting Tribute,
This review is from: Flying Fury: Five Years in the Royal Flying Corps (Greenhill Military Paperback) (Paperback)
James McCudden, VC was undoubtedly one of the premier pilots to grace the ranks of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) during the Great War. This account follows his service career from the pre-war days in the Royal Engineers through his transfer to the RFC, initially as an engine fitter before graduating to aircrew, through to his untimely demise in a flying accident in July 1918.
His exploits with 3 and 29 Sqn show some of the technical difficulties experienced in the air in the early part of the war. However by the time he transfers to the prestigious 56 Sqn flying the new SE5a Scout his increasing personal confidence is reflected in his rapidly mounting score, his engineering background helping him squeeze every last ounce of performance from his aircraft.
McCudden's account is written in a simple, informal and personable style. The author's self effacing manner endears the reader to him and his dedication to his country's service sums up the ethos of his compatriots who in so many cases made the ultimate sacrifice. Many of the RFC's greats are mentioned within these pages including Ball, Mannock and Rhys-Davids not to mention notable protagonists such as von Richtofen and Voss.
There are an interesting selection of black and white photographs and the renowned air historian Norman Franks has included a useful introduction and appendix detailing McCudden's victories.
This book is a true military classic, the narrative seeming to capture the true spirit of this famous aviator and the many worthy attributes of the generation lost so tragically between 1914-18. Such is the calibre of this book I've read it on a number of occasions over the years and I'm sure future readers will do the same. Highly recommended.