About the current issue
Our journal The Aviation Historian may still be something of a new kid on the block – the 6th issue of our compact-format quarterly is now available – but our editorial crew has been in the business for a very long time, so we know when we have some exceptionally special material in our hands.
To elaborate: as the world begins to mark the centenary of World War One, just imagine what it would be like to teleport back in time and meet, face-to-face, the very people who were in at the beginning of Britain's air forces and aircraft industry, and hear about their early experiences at first hand. We've got the next best thing: we're serialising a long-lost book manuscript, compiled by pioneer aviator and instructor F.W. Merriam from recollections sent to him by his contemporaries. He gathered priceless memories from people such as test pilots John Lankester Parker and Henri Biard, J.T.C. Moore-Brabazon (later Lord Brabazon), Frank McClean (the father of British naval aviation), Henri Jullerot, Gordon England, the Pashley brothers, Henry Petre (Australia's first military pilot), engine designer Frank Halford and many more.
These recollections are, literally, informal reminiscences among friends, stories ranging from the gripping to the hilarious, so reading them is rather like sharing a pint or a convivial dinner and a chat with these luminaries. We kick off in TAH6 with Colonel Alec Ogilvie, holder of Royal Aero Club licence No 7, one of the Wright Brothers' first customers, who flew up the River Nile with Frank McClean in early 1914 and became Squadron Commander at Eastchurch soon after the outbreak of World War One. Soon after his appointment he oversaw a Zeppelin-repelling action which ended up creating "friendly fire", depositing British shells on a nearby gunpowder factory ... As Merriam says in his introduction, "Well, if his story isn't a thriller to the airminded and others, then I do not know what is".
A wide variety of other articles in TAH6 include the little-known story of Reimar Horten's post-WW2 flying-wing gliders in Argentina; a Hunting-Clan stewardess's vivid and well-illustrated memories of the airline's 1950s Safari service to Africa; a feature on Swedish de Havilland Mosquito nightfighters which includes the interception of a Soviet Tu-4 Bull over Stockholm; a Consolidated Liberator converted for use by Vietnamese royalty (complete with whitewall tyres); the full story (for the first time) of the innovative but ultimately unsuccessful Campini-Caproni C.C.2 "motorjet"; a history of the shapely but now barely-remembered Potez 840 turboprop; and a day of triumph and tragedy for Convair's Pogo and Sea Dart, among many others.
And, not forgetting World War One (which is where we came in), we have a detailed article about 26 Sqn RFC's forgotten campaign in East Africa in 1915–18, plus more superb artwork from Arvo Vercamer in Before & After, featuring the sole Ago C VII reconnaissance biplane, which after its German military career was sold to Estonia. Added to those, our other regulars Lost & Found, Off the Beaten Track, There I Was, readers' letters and book reviews make up the enticing package that is TAH6.
As always, TAH makes a superb present for any keen enthusiast – including yourself! – and it is quick and easy to subscribe (you can click here to do so). You can also buy single issues and back-issues via our Shop page.
Nick Stroud, Editor