This unusual and interesting memoir, as its foreword by the official historian of the Australian Flying Corps makes clear, aims to present ‘the human side’ of one theatre of the Great War in the air: that of the ‘last crusade’ to free Palestine from Ottoman Turkish rule. The author, L.W. Sutherland, was an officer in No. 1 Squadron of the AFC, piloting a succession of aircraft – SE5s, RE8s, DH6’s, Nieuport Scouts and Bristol Fighters – through the desert skies. Sutherland’s down to earth memoir certainly succeeds in conveying the rough, tough Aussie humour with which he and his comrades confronted the hardships around them. But he never lets the reader forget that war is always a grim business, as the title of one of his last chapters on the final Tukish rout -’Nine Miles of Dead’ cogently conveys. Among other curiosities the book also cointains one interesting and admiring chapter on T.E. Lawrence and his controversial contribution to the campaign. For Sutherland at least, who often acted as a courier and air chauffeur to Lawrence’s irregulars, TEL remains an unstained hero. The book is illustrated with some fine photos of planes, pilots and Arab fighters.
L. W. Sutherland M.C., D.C.M. ( written in collaboration with Norman Ellison).
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2004 N&M Press reprint (of original). SB. xii+275pp,29 photos,