Combat Over the Trenches (Hardback)
Oswald Watt Aviation Pioneer
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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.
Oswald Watts was a true pioneer of aviation and attracted much coverage during his life and after. Not all of this coverage was accurate and a number of myths and misconceptions have appeared. The author has done a very good job of objectively recounting the life and career of Oswald Watts and his text is supported by many well-chosen images through the body of the book – Most Highly Recommended.Firetrench
Read the complete review here.
Another Great War Aussie tale, this time a biopic of pioneer airman Toby Watts. The war in the air really took off in the latter part of the conflict, and Chris's tale of an extraordinary aviator is told with awe and respect for a man who was, for a short while, larger than life itself.Books Monthly, Paul Norman