The Poor Bloody Observer
Despite being largely overlooked today, the RFC rightly called the observers ‘the eyes of the army’. This talk will provide an overview of the Observer’s role on the Western Front and the difficulties they faced in terms of promotion, pay, prestige and life expectancy.
Peter Rowbottom is a retired History teacher with an interest in aviation. He has written and spoken about the RFC and WW2 including for the Great War Group and Commonwealth War Graves Commission. He enjoys visiting both First and Second World War sites, watching football and attending concerts by old punk and Indie bands.
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Breaking the Racial Barriers in the Air
Among the many social changes that emerged amid World War I was the first entry of non-Europeans into the seemingly elite realm of military aviation. Although they faced prejudice, by 1918, pilots of African descent turned up in the Italian Air Corps, the Turkish Navy, Britain’s Royal Flying Corps and the French Air Service.
Jon Guttman, a resident of Leesburg, Virginia, is currently the senior editor for Historynet.com. Specialising in World War I aviation, he has written nineteen titles for Osprey, including the popular Aircraft of the Aces 66: Balloon-Busting Aces of World War I, as well as Grim Reapers: French Escadrille 94 in World War I and Aerial Foreign Legion: Volunteer Foreign Airmen in French Escadrille Service.
Hawker: Film Event
For the last three years, film director Daniel Arbon has been making a new, independent, short film about Lanoe Hawker, who was Britain’s first flying ace.
Hawker tells the story of the action of 25th July 1915 when Capt Hawker became the first British pilot to successfully shoot down an enemy aircraft by mounting a Lewis Gun to the side of his Bristol Scout. His victories on that day, on top of his sustained bravery since the outset of the war, resulted in the awarding of the Victoria Cross. It was only the third VC given to an Airman and the first for air-to-air combat with another aeroplane.
As major supporters of the project, we have secured an exclusive opportunity to see the film and listen to Daniel’s story about making the film. This event is only available to current members of GWAS.
Daniel Arbon has always been interested in aviation and initially trained in aerospace manufacturing, serving a Modern Apprenticeship with Rolls Royce (In a factory built to manufacture “Merlin” engines during WW2). He went on to RMA Sandhurst as an Officer Cadet in the British Army in 2005 before being medically discharged. He began his career in the arts as an actor, graduating from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in 2011. He made his first film, “Ironheart”, in 2016 and formed Middle Realm Productions, producing short dramas and corporate films.