The AFC in The Great War 1914-1918

In retrospect, the happiness of these days is tinged with melancholy. The price which service flying required is paid in full and the little group with whom I spent hilarious training days paid more than its share. Less than a quarter of that group is left.

Training itself claimed a heavy toll and took from among the best but those who found their way overseas did their work well, and often brilliantly helping to uphold the name of the Australian Flying Corps. Australia may be as proud as she is rightly so of those indefatigable and incomparable fighters of hers - the Australian infantryman.

By an anonymous AFC combat pilot , writing after the Armistice under the nom de plume of ‘Wings’ , provides an insight into the contribution of the AFC. 

The 1st Squadron served in Egypt and the Sinai from April 1916 and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Squadrons AFC served on the Western Front, all as units of the RFC.   The squadrons reverted to their AFC cardinal numbers (No 1SQN, No 2SQN, No 3SQN, No 4SQN) in 1918.  RAAF sources compiled after the war estimate that 880 officers and 2840 other ranks served overseas with the AFC, 70% of whom served in the field with the combat squadrons.

Four AFC training squadrons were formed in UK in 1917, effectively replacing CFS at Point Cook as the source of trained airmen for the squadrons. They provided pilots and observers primarily for the combat squadrons in the Western Front, but some went to No 1 Squadron in Egypt. Nos 5, 6, 7 and 8 Training Squadrons were based in Gloucestershire from 1917 until early 1919.  

The Australian Flying Corps in the Great War 1914-1918 is a history of combat operations, technical details and training notes/summaries, unique to the history of the AFC in the war. The history comprises 'war diary' experiences of squadron aircrew, maps, technical drawings and  photos, some not seen before. They provide a comprehensive insight into squadron preparations and activities from their deployment in 1916 to their return to Australia at the war's end.

View excerpts from the compilation.  AFC in the Great War 1914-1918 was launched at Point Cook on 28 May 2018.  Read Doug Hurst's review of the book.

A Third Edition is available by on-line order. The cost of the book is $49.95 + $15.65 P&P - order here, with your mailing address. If you live in Canberra, you can arrange pickup locally.