No Parachute

A Classic Account of War in the Air in WWI

Arthur Gould Lee

Date Published :
August 2013
Publisher :
Grub Street Publishing
Illustration :
photos included
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781911621058
Pages : 256
Dimensions : 8.25 X 5 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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From the young airmen who took their frail machines high above the trenches of World War I and fought their foes in single combat there emerged a renowned company of brilliant aces – among them Ball, Bishop, McCudden, Collishaw and Mannock – whose legendary feats have echoed down half a century. But behind the elite there were, in the Royal Flying Corps, many hundreds of other airmen who flew their hazardous daily sorties in outdated planes without ever achieving fame. Here is the story of one of these unknown flyers – a story based on letters written on the day, hot on the event, which tells of a young pilot’s progress from fledgling to seasoned fighter. His descriptions of air fighting, sometimes against the Richtofen Circus, of breathless dogfights between Sopwith Pup and Albatros, are among the most vivid and immediate to come out of World War I. Gould Lee brilliantly conveys the immediacy of air war, the thrills and the terror, in this honest and timeless account. Rising to the rank of air vice-marshal, Gould Lee never forgot the RFC’s needless sacrifices – and in a trio of trenchant appendices he examines, with the mature judgment of a senior officer of the RAF and a graduate of the Staff and Imperial Defense Colleges, the failure of the Army High Command to provide both efficient airplanes until mid-1917 and parachutes throughout the war, and General Trenchard’s persistence in a costly and largely ineffective conception of the air offensive.

About The Author

Arthur Gould Lee was born in 1894 and served in the Sherwood Foresters, RFC, and RAF from 1915 to 1946 when he retired as an air vice-marshal. He took up writing on retirement from the RAF and published eight nonfiction books, all of which have become classics in aviation nonfiction.


“… new edition nicely complements the earlier work… covers Lee’s experiences with No.46 Squadron, RFC, during the shorter but much more intense period from May 1917 to January 1918. It is based largely on his wartime letters and includes as appendices his later observations, reflecting a longer view of history and his experience as a two-star RAF officer…wartime exploits still resonate in the stirring, first-hand narratives contained in this nicely-illustrated book.

- Over the Front

"This excellent book remains a copper plated gem and has stood the test of time with gusto...This is a very serious book. It takes the form of the letters the author wrote to his young wife and there are odd occasions when he leaves out descriptions of adventures away from flying that I would like to have seen included. It is annotated with details of comrades lost in combat which are very poignant in their own way. A brief account of the later careers of some of his surviving chums appears in the appendices. Make no mistake; what we have here is a classic which gives a genuinely warm and detailed look at the life of a pilot on a typical fighter squadron during the violent days following Bloody April and into the last year of the war. We meet many characters, some with short time on this Earth and others who went on to greatness in another war. It’s got the lot."

- War History Online

"Aviation enthusiasts and historians will be transfixed by Gould Lee’s accounts of both life in the skies and on the ground."

- Library Journal

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