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Other WWI Aviation Airfields, equipment, tactics, training, uniforms and all other WWI aviation topics

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Old 20 February 2002, 03:28 PM   #1
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I have before me a photocopy of a document; a friend who has seen the original says it is yellow with age and COULD be 85 years old - but is it ?

The document, some 10 pages long, is entitled FLIGHT SAFETY - MONTHLY SUMMARY, for December 1917. *It has a forward signed by "C. St.John-Culbertson, Colonel, Royal Flying Corps", dated 21 December 1917, and among the contents is a drawing of a Triplane signed by the artist, "A.T. Davis" (or Dawes), and dated 1917. *If these names are authentic, then perhaps the document is authentic as well.

Why my doubts ? *Well, some of the contents are plausible (like a page on meteorology) but other items sound so wildly impossible that it might be a 1917 send-up of safety publications (or even later than 1917).

Example: *Under a heading of "Avoidable Accidents" is the following summary: "A BE.2 stalled and crashed during an artillery exercise. *The pilot had been struck on the head by the semaphore of his observer who was signalling to the gunners."

Another incident under the heading "Unavoidable Accidents" reads as follows: "The top wing of a Camel fell off due to fatigue failure of the flying wires. *A successful emergency landing was carried out."

There are also accident reports where the officer involved is identified as "Lieutenant J. Smith-Worthington", and "Captain L. de Courcy-Bass" - in both cases their stories MIGHT be true (though they sound far-fetched), but even if true the names may have been changed to protect the *guilty. *Consider the case of the latter, whose accident was dated at 19 December 1917 (suspiciously close to the date of the FLIGHT SAFETY SUMMARY itself):

"Capt de Courcy-Bass of the Hussars, a balloon observer, unfortunately allowed the spike of his full dress helmet to impinge against the envelope of his balloon. *There was a violent explosion and the balloon carried out a series of fantastic and uncontrollable maneouvres, whilst rapidly emptying itself of gas. *The pilot was thrown clear and escaped injury as he was lucky enough to land on his head.

"F.1022 action has been taken. The pilot was flying in full dress uniform because he was officer of the day. *In consequence it has been recommended that pilots will not fly during the period of duty officer.

"Capt. de Courcy-Bass has requested a exchange posting to the Patrouille d'Alpes, a well known mule unit of the Basques."

A send up ? *Or what ?
Old 21 February 2002, 09:00 AM   #2
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Well Hugh,

There was Lt Murphy-Guinness in the RFC, Capt. Cox-Fosters of the AFC and don't forget QM Maurice Stella-Artois of the CAM de Dunkerque.

Capt de Courcy-Bass of the Hussars, a balloon observer, unfortunately allowed the spike of his full dress helmet to impinge against the envelope of his balloon. *There was a violent explosion and the balloon carried out a series of fantastic and uncontrollable maneouvres, whilst rapidly emptying itself of gas
Sounds remarkably like the incident from Those magnificent Men In Their flying Machines.
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Old 21 February 2002, 10:54 AM   #3
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It sounds funny as hell.

Drew Ames

"Drew can talk -- by Jove, how the man can talk!" -- James Norman Hall in "High Adventure"
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Old 21 February 2002, 10:57 AM   #4
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So THAT'S where the screenwriters got the idea for Gert Frobe (Obert von Holstein) to lose his duel in TMM&TFM.
Which had Irina Dimmick and lots of interesting aeroplanes.
You will not rise to the occasion: You will default to your level of training.
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Old 21 February 2002, 12:31 PM   #5
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Hugh - this was published some time back or at least excerpted in C&C (US) vol 18/3. My favorite of the lot was this gem:

"It was conceded by all that the pilot had accomplished a brilliant piece of work in landing his disabled machine without damage under the circumstances. *It is not the intent to reflect less credit upon his airmanship, but it must be noted that he is a well experienced aviator with over 40 total hours in the air, embracing a wide variety of machines, and this was his seventh forced landing to to complete fairlure of the engine. It was doubly unfortunate the upon alighting from his machine he missed the catwalk on the lower airfoil and plunged both legs through the fabric, straddeling a rib, from which he received a grevious personal injury. Some thought should be devoted to a means of identifying wing-traversing catwalks to assist aviators in disembarking from their various machines."


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