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Victoria Cross: WWI Airmen and Their Aircraft
by Alex Revell
Paperback: 96 pages
Dimensions (in inches): 0.30 x 11.00 x 8.44
Publisher: Flying Machines Press; (January 1997)

"The 19 British Empire pilots awarded the Victoria Cross in WWI were pioneers of aerial combat. They flew a dozen aircraft types, and this book contains each recipient's VC bird rendered in color profiles: from Rodes-Moorehouse's BE-2 of 1915 through Mannock's SE-5 of 1918.

Each VC aviator's career is covered in a separate chapter, and while many are famous, several of the lesser-known fliers have exceptional stories: Sgt. Tom Mottershead, the only noncommissioned pilot to win a Great War VC; Capt. A.J. Liddle, mortally wounded in his RE-5; Capt. L.W.B. Rees' fight against odds in his DH-2; Lt. Frank McNamara's gallant rescue of a fellow aiman from Turkish cavalry, and many others.

Criteria for the award of any decoration are subject to change and interpretation. By example, five air VCs were awarded in 1915 owing to the novelty of air combat but only three in 1916 during more intensive operations, and four in 1917. Revell addresses the William Bishop controversy (he's a devout nonbeliever) as well as how Alan Jerrard's VC was based upon his squadron's erroneous combat report. In fact, one of the finest photos in the book is the captured Jerrard glumly sitting on the wreckage of his Camel.

Other books have addressed the same subject, complete with VC citations, but for Great War buffs, historians, and especially modelers, this little volume is a bargain. I rate it four out of five possible stars."

Reviewed by Barrett Tillman

Buy it now!

 
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