No Empty Chairs: The Short and Heroic Lives of the Young Aviators Who Fought and Died in the First World War

No Empty Chairs: The Short and Heroic Lives of the Young Aviators Who Fought and Died in the First World War

by Ian Mackersey

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Overview

It was World War I, the time of the Red Baron, Eddie Rickenbacker, and other “knights of the air” whose high-flying exploits captured the imaginations of millions. But the reality was less romantic. In spring 1917, British squadrons lost 200 pilots a month, with pilot life expectancy a mere 11 days. No Empty Chairs tells the story of that first great air war, illustrating its devastating physical and emotional impact, as well as its extraordinary acts of heroism. Private correspondence, diaries, reports, and interviews enrich the narrative.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780297859949
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Limited
Publication date: 08/07/2012
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Ian Mackersey is a writer and documentary filmmaker specializing in aviation biography. He began his career as a writer for the Dominion and later the New Zealand Herald, and lived in Britain and Zambia before returning to New Zealand.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

Prologue 1

1 The Reluctant Inventors 7

2 The Aeroplane Goes to War 17

3 Enter 'Boom' 28

4 Brave Lives Given for Others 38

5 The Fokker Scourge 47

6 Public Schoolboys Wanted 58

7 The Instructors Who Stuttered 67

8 Unhappiness in Parliament 79

9 Giants Dripping Death 86

10 Zeppelin Stalkers 98

11 The 'Fees' Come to France 104

12 Terror Above the Somme 108

13 Morale and the Offensive Spirit 114

14 Bloody April 127

15 Going 'Mad Dog' 141

16 An Airman's Wife 156

17 The Mothers 164

18 The 'Bloody Wonderful Drunks' 181

19 They Also Served 190

20 The Majors 204

21 The Raid That Never Was 209

22 Gothas 223

23 America Comes to London 236

24 Operation Michael 242

25 Death of the Red Baron 249

26 The Spent Capital of Courage 260

27 The Working-Class Heroes 270

28 Flamerinoes 280

29 Waning of the Spirit 293

30 The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day 309

31 Silence of a Desolate Land 320

Epilogue 327

Acknowledgements 336

Select Bibliography 342

Source Notes 348

Index 364

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