Academic journal article Alberta History

Cavalry of the Air

Academic journal article Alberta History

Cavalry of the Air

Article excerpt

Cavalry of the Air

by Norman S. Leach. Toronto: Dundurn, 160 pp., soft cover, illus., colour, $28.99.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

This timely book provides an excellent view of aviation during World War I. It deals with aces, both Allied and German, types of aircraft, and takes a look at some of the historic dog fights.

At the beginning of the war, most experts believed that aircraft would not be a significant factor, except perhaps for reconnaissance purposes. The British government had experimented with a military aircraft, the Cody 1, in 1908, but it crashed on a test flight and the idea was abandoned. But only four years later, the Royal Flying Corps was formed and provided valuable service in the early years of the war for observation purposes. When wireless radios were added in 1915, aircraft could now spot an enemy target and report it to the artillery.

Canadian pilots figured prominently as aces during the war. The most outstanding was Billy Bishop who held the Allied record with seventy-two enemy planes shot down. Another Canadian ace was Raymond Collishaw who shot down sixty enemy aircraft. Late in the war, he brought together the best Canadian pilots--Ellis Reid, J. …

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