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World War One Aircraft Carrier Pioneer (Kindle)

The Story and Diaries of Captain JM McCleery RNAS/RAF

Aviation WWI Military Biography World War One Aviation Aviation Memoirs 1916 1917 Great War Memoirs

By Guy Warner
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
File Size: 2.9 MB (.mobi)
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9781783407668
Published: 28th February 2011

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Jack McCleery was born in Belfast in 1898, the son of a mill owning family. He joined the RNAS in 1916 as a Probationary Flight Officer. During the next ten months he completed his training at Crystal Palace, Eastchurch, Cranwell, Frieston, Calshot and Isle of Grain, flying more than a dozen landplanes, seaplanes and flying boats, gaining his wings as a Flight Sub-Lieutenant. In July 1917 he was posted to the newly commissioning aircraft carrier HMS Furious, which would be based at Scapa Flow and Rosyth. He served in this ship until February 1919, flying Short 184 seaplanes and then Sopwith 1½ Strutters off the deck. He also flew a large number of other types during this time from shore stations at Turnhouse, East Fortune and Donibristle.

He served with important and well-known naval airmen including Dunning, Rutland (of Jutland) and Bell Davies VC. He witnessed Dunning's first successful landing on a carrier flying a Sopwith Pup in 1917 and his tragic death a few days later. He also witnessed the Tondern raid in 1918, the world's first carrier strike mission. He took part in more than a dozen sweeps into the North Sea by elements of the Grand Fleet and Battle Cruiser Fleet. He carried out reconnaissance missions off the coast of Denmark, landing in the sea to be picked up by waiting destroyers. He witnessed the surrender of the High Seas Fleet. Promoted to Captain, he acted as temporary CO of F Squadron for a time post-war.

Guy Warner has been given access to McCleery's wartime dairy, his letters home, other memorabilia and three remarkable albums with hundreds of photos taken by Jack and others of the events described above. His intention is to edit Jack's diary and letters, to provide an introduction and conclusion and to annotate the text with explanatory details of important events, people, places, ships and aircraft. Jack McCleery's son, John, is fully supportive of the proposal.

Jack McCleery was born in Belfast in 1898, the son of a mill owning family. He joined the RNAS in 1916 as a Probationary Flight Officer. During the next ten months he completed his training at Crystal Palace, Eastchurch, Cranwell, Frieston, Calshot and Isle of Grain, flying more than a dozen landplanes, seaplanes and flying boats, gaining his wings as a Flight Sub-Lieutenant. In July 1917 he was posted to the newly commissioning aircraft carrier HMS Furious, which would be based at Scapa Flow and Rosyth. He served in this ship until February 1919, flying Short 184 seaplanes and then Sopwith 1½ Strutters off the deck. He also flew a large number of other types during this time from shore stations at Turnhouse, East Fortune and Donibristle.

He served with important and well-known naval airmen including Dunning, Rutland (of Jutland) and Bell Davies VC. He witnessed Dunning’s first successful landing on a carrier flying a Sopwith Pup in 1917 and his tragic death a few days later. He also witnessed the Tondern raid in 1918, the world’s first carrier strike mission. He took part in more than a dozen sweeps into the North Sea by elements of the Grand Fleet and Battle Cruiser Fleet. He carried out reconnaissance missions off the coast of Denmark, landing in the sea to be picked up by waiting destroyers. He witnessed the surrender of the High Seas Fleet. Promoted to Captain, he acted as temporary CO of F Squadron for a time post-war.

A very interesting read from someone who was around at the inauguration of the Aircraft Carrier age.

Professional Pilots Rumour Network

A fascinating effort that reveals the boredom and excitement of early days in naval aviation.

Warships International Fleet Review

By collating and editing the wartime diaries and personal letters of the young Ulsterman as he progressed through training in the RNAS, the author Guy Warner has produced fascinating and well-structured book that is absolutely crammed full of military and social history.
An absolute gem.

Sussex History Forum

Historian Guy Warner narrates the remarkable story of Jack McCleery, a Belfast World War One pilot whose wartime letters, diaries, notebooks and photographs lay undiscovered for years.

Learn about the key role he played in the hazardous development of the world's first aircraft carrier and how he came of ages as a World War One pilot.

BBC NEWS

An excellent book.

The Armourer

A delightful, well-edited book that will appeal to those interested in the development of the Grand Fleet as well as those interested in the early development of naval aviation.

Australian Naval Institute

A splendidly evocative study of a genuine trailblazer.

The Eastern Daily Press - July 2011

This is an absolutely fascinating story of one young man growing up in the war, as naval flying developed and as an aircraft carrier, not simply a seaplane carrier, entered service.

Nautical Magazine - August 2011

This is an exciting story of the very beginning of naval aviation. An informative book - the photographs are particularly impressive.

Cross and Cockade- Summer 2011

An excellent account of early Naval air warfare seen at first hand. Guy Warner has had access to Jack McCleery's wartime diaries, personal letters and three unique photograph albums - an extraordinary and rare resource taken full advantage of here in this absorbing and historically valuable narrative. Guy presents much of the airman's material over 280 pages, skilfully editing and annotating to present a full picture of the leading lights McCleery encounterd in his career.

Enthralling.....

Windsock - May/June 2011

Guy Warner has made an excellent job of telling Jack McCleery's story. Warner has reproduced the entire diary, and a fair selection of the letters home, verbatim interspersed with large chunks of amplification - and it works.

It works for two reasons; first because the previously obscure McCleery was actually a remarkable pilot whose story deserved to be told and, secondly, because, in contrast to the original material, Warner's own prose is faultless.

Warner provides us with what amounts to a very readable account of the evolution of early carrier aviation. While McCleery was a witness, and indeed a participant, in much of this, his own writings do not actually tell us a great deal about flying, but his observations on life at sea and his responsibilities as a seaman are illuminating.

The narrative of this well-indexed 293-page hardback is supported by about sixty photographs featuring personalities, ships and aeroplanes, all taken from McCleery's album and very well reproduced. Few, if any, of these pictures will have been seen before.

Royal Airforce Historical Society
 Guy Warner

About Guy Warner

Guy has just written a series of historical articles for the Fleet Air Arm in connection with FlyNavy 100, has previously written about naval aviation history in his books on 230 Squadron (which began life as a RNAS unit) and on RNAS Airships in WW1.

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