Images of War: Royal Flying Corps, Alistair Smith

Images of War: Royal Flying Corps, Alistair Smith

This entry in the Images of War series includes pictures from four photo albums taken by members of the RFC. The first looks at the training base at Tangmere. Next is an album showing training in Canada. Third, and largest, is the album of Fl Lt W. Richards, which shows scenes from his period of training in England. Finally is a shorter album with rare pictures of early sea planes on the River Crouch in Essex.

The four photo albums contain some interesting pictures. Aircraft enthusiasts will find plenty of pictures of First World War types in a variety of states (landed, airborne and badly mangled after a crash including one rather impressive vertical dive straight through a veranda roof). There are also some fascinating pictures taken in the air, one showing a fellow crewman and two down to the ground. The aircraft are a mix of training and combat types

I feel that more work needed to be done on the captions. In one or two places information worked out from later pictures isn't carried back into earlier captions, so the sequence of pictures of the Short Type 827 bomber begins with it captioned as a Type 184 torpedo bomber. In another case there are two pictures of the same crashed Bristol F2B, identified correctly in the first shot (which includes part of the serial number) but claimed to be almost impossible to identify over the page!

On a more positive note the vast majority of the captions are directed related to their photograph and contain useful information that isn't included in the chapter introductions, which focus on describing the origin and general contents of each of the albums (this isn’t always the case - I've found similar books where the captions are made up of extracts from the introduction text). Overall the pictures are interesting and very varied, and most of the captions add useful information.


1 - Tangmere
2 - The Royal Flying Corps in Canada
3 - Lieutenant W Richards
4 - Seaplanes on the River Crouch

Author: Alistair Smith
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 134
Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation
Year: 2012

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