Top positive review
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on 12 July 2015
By a curious coincidence, the author left 46 Sqn in Jan 1918, just before V.M.Yeates joined it, in Feb '18. Yeates was the author of the semi-autobiographical novel Winged Victory. Yeates was a civilian volunteer who went back to civvie street; Lee, seemingly, was a professional soldier. He remained in the RAF after the war, and eventually retired in 1946 with the rank of Air Vice-Marshal (the equivalent of a Major-General).
The contrast between the two books could hardly be more marked. Yeates' book was written in the 30's, the year before he died of TB. It is very much of the Disenchantment years; disillusioned, embittered, including a lot of cynical philosophising that may not have been present at the time. This book, written in the late 60's, is very matter of fact, a memoir of the author's time from learning to fly to his time, just post-war, teaching others to fly.
Of the two, this is the better. There is some very pointed comment about the decisions made further up the chain of command, but mostly it is a commentary free of bitterness. It is also very self-effacing. Both men were accredited "aces"; neither boast of their own exploits. If you want an emotionally coloured impression of how WWI's fliers may have felt, then Winged Victory is well worth reading. But if you want a dispassionate account of what it was like to be a WWI fighter pilot, you will struggle to find a better book than this.