This is one of the best books I have ever read, and on the subject of WWI it simply is the best I've ever read!

Arthur Gould Lee wrote the book based on letters he sent to his wife Gwyneth Ann, and diary entries he wrote whilst stationed in France in 1917 serving as a fighter pilot with the Royal Flying Corps (R.F.C.).

Subsequent to the war he was able to add in previously classified information and together this gives the book an amazingly in depth but humane account of what it was like to be on active service at that time.

Following a dogfight Lee had with a German fighter pilot on Saturday 22 September 1917 in which he found himself flying upside down above the German pilot, close enough to touch each other, Lee wrote the following diary entry: 

"It was an odd feeling today to look at that D-III pilot from my upside-down position and see practically my double. Later on, I thought about it. It made me realise that the Hun pilots and observers are just the same types as we are in the R.F.C., all young, keen on flying, volunteers for the job. We'd probably get along together like a house on fire, yet all we're here for is to slay each other. It's daft when you think of it. And for whose benefit, when we're all done in, and the war's over?" - P139

In that single paragraph Lee captures the senseless futility of war played out for the interests of others and in which most soldiers and pilots have nothing to gain or benefit. I've said it before and I believe it more now than I ever have, that the ruling elite's should be made to fight each other in one on one combat rather than involve the rest of us in their turgid affairs.

Arthur Gould Lee was a fearless fighter pilot, one of many who went largely unrecognised for his service and achievements. He was a loyal patriot who was willing to die for his country, and yet he asks some very tough questions in appendices A, B & C. Even the title is an uncomfortable jab at the High Command. This book should be mandatory reading for those that would rush others in to war.


Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, we really appreciate it!

Anyone can comment and all comments will appear after word verification.

Spam will be dealt with appropriately.

(Apologies for the temporary glitch of being unable to reply directly to comments, I'm working on this)