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Out on a wing : an autobiography by Sir…

Out on a wing : an autobiography (1964)

by Sir Miles Thomas

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I bought this book for the sole purpose of covering Thomas' experience in WWI, and I am glad that I did. Although brief, it gives some first hand accounting for some very lightly covered area as far as memoirs go. Thomas started out as a driver in an armored car squadron in East Africa, working with Rolls-Royce armored cars, Napier transport vehicles and Model T Fords. Aside from some anecdotal observations of living conditions, and more importantly, how these modern mechanized vehicles worked (or not) in the muddy conditions of East Africa, there is little more to glean from his service in East Africa. After a somewhat brief tour in East Africa, Thomas transfered to Egypt, where he received a commission in the Royal Flying Corps, and ultimately became an instructor pilot at Heliopolis on a variety of types of aircraft.
After his tour at Heliopolis, Thomas was assigned to No. 72 Squadron, then enroute to Mesopotamia. Thomas arrived in Mesopotamia well after the fall and subsequent recapture of Kut. Having arrived before No. 72 Sq arrived, he was temporarily detailed to No. 63 Sq at Samarra, where he served on 1 Apr 1918, the official formation date of the Royal Air Force. Thomas describes the typical activities associated with the squadrons at the time: scout detail for two-seat bombers, and his attempts (mostly unsuccessful) of trying to get the enemy to engage, as well as reconnaissance duty. Ultimately, Thomas was detailed as the personal pilot to Colonel (later Sir) A. T. Wilson, the Political Officer of Mesopotamia under Sir Percy Cox. Later he was detailed to support Dunsterforce. Before his departure after the conclusion of the armistice, Thomas was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Altogether a very anecdotal accounting, but some interesting details not found elsewhere. ( )
1 vote pjlambert | Aug 6, 2012 |
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To my moving spirit Hylda
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When the distinguished looking American walked into my office opposite the Ritz in the early part of 1956 I hadn't the vaguest idea what he wanted to talk about.
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