Ken Delve : 'Royal Flying Corps/Royal Air Force in the First World War'
“Had some hot fire on way back, one of those occasions when one wishes the Wright Brothers had never invented aeroplanes.” Maj Roderic Dallas, DSO MC*. From the early days of military aviation, the Army was ‘less than keen’ on machines that, to many, “frightened the horses” but were of little other value. Having deployed a small number of squadrons to France at the start of the war, the RFC was soon establishing a reputation for the quality and usefulness of its reconnaissance. From the need to meet the calls for more recce, and to prevent enemy recce, grew the science of air photography and the art of air fighting. The ability to ‘step over the trenches’ and bomb the enemy added yet another dimension. This discussion looks at the key air power roles of reconnaissance, air fighting and strategic bombing.
Ken Delve served 20 years in the RAF as a Navigator, starting with the Canberra PR.9s of 39 Squadron. Subsequent tours on Tornado with IX (B) and II (AC) squadrons, and as a Navigation instructor. On leaving the RAF, Ken was Editor of FlyPast magazine for 10 years. Ken has published 50 books and hundreds of articles. He is a Trustee of the RAF Heraldry Trust (www.rafht.co.uk) and a volunteer at the RAF Marham Aviation Heritage Centre