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Combat Over the Trenches (Hardback)

Oswald Watt Aviation Pioneer

Aviation WWI Prisoners Of War

By Chris Clark
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Pages: 312
ISBN: 9781526715012
Published: 30th November 2017

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'Father of the Flying Corps' and 'Father of Australian Aviation' were two of the unofficial titles conferred on Oswald ("Toby") Watt when he died in tragic circumstances shortly after the end of the First World War. He had become the Australian Army's first qualified pilot in 1911, but spent the first 18 months of the war with the French Air Service, the Aéronautique Militaire, before arranging a transfer to the Australian Imperial Force. Already an experienced combat pilot, he rose quickly through the ranks of the Australian Flying Corps, becoming a squadron leader and leading his unit at the battle of Cambrai, then commander of No 1 Training Wing with the senior AFC rank of lieutenant colonel.

These were elements in a colourful and at times a romantic career long existing interest and attention - not just during Watt's lifetime but in the interval since his death nearly a century ago. His name had been rarely out of Australian newspapers for more than a decade before the war, reflecting his wealthy lifestyle and extensive and influential social and political connections. But this focus has enveloped Watt's story with an array of false and misleading elements verging on mythology. For the first time, this book attempts to establish the true story of Watt's life and achievements, and provide a proper basis for evaluating his place in Australian history.

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 Chris Clark

About Chris Clark

Chris Clark, a War Baby, was born in West Norfolk and raised at various RAF Stations, including Benson in Oxfordshire and Changi in Singapore, before his family settled in the village of Dersingham, Norfolk. He joined Norfolk Constabulary as a Police Constable in the “Heart Beat” era during March 1966 and had diverse roles within the uniform branch. He is heavily involved in Family History Research and is the throes of writing a further book on the Royal Air Force and an Auto Biography of his experiences as a Police Officer; with a further book on Unsolved Crimes and Cock-up’s in the pipeline.

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