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100 years ago the Royal Flying Corps was formed

Imperial War Museum Lecture: Shooting from the Air (20th June 2012)

At the time my 15 year old grandfather had been working for a year at the Northeastern Brewery; he sent off to Gamages for model planes.


Fig. 1 Gustav Hamel

The year before, with his kid brother Billy, they had watched an aeronautical display from Gustav Hamel over Carlisle Race course and caught the bug.

At the outbreak of war Billy was only 14, but he managed to join the cadets.

Come 1915 Jack had enlisted and had been bounced out of the Durham Light Infantryinto the Machine Gun Corps; he regretted this all his life, though having survived The Somme and Third Ypres (Passchendaele) he successfully transferred and passed fit to train as a fighter pilot passing out late in October 1918. He never got a shot back in France as he would have liked.

Fig. 2. Captain Dixon (probably) with the Avro Trainer in which Jack Wilson was taught. RAF Crail, September 1918

By nWilliam Nixon Wilson, is a bomber pilot and Flight Lieutenant.

We have a record of some of his ‘hits’. Sadly his plane came down in the summer of 1919 delivering mail over Belgium.

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