This is a collective history, written by various hands, of a Royal Naval Air Service squadron that was later absorbed into the new Royal Air Force. No. 8 Squadron – known as ‘Naval Eight’ to its members – was born when its original three Flights (or eighteen aeroplances) were detached by the Admiralty from duties with the Dover Patrol over the English Channel and attached for ‘temporary duty’ with the BEF in France at the height of the battle of the Somme in October 1916. The original squadron was entirely composed of aviators who were volunteers, and its elan and espirit de corps were high. The experiment of ‘lending’ a Naval air squadron for duties on land was so successful that four further RNAS squadrons followed No. 8’s lead in 1916, and the way was paved for the creation of the RAF in April 1918. Based at Mont St Eloi airfield, and equipped with Sopwith aircraft ( the 110 P Clerget; the ‘Pup’; the ‘Camel’; the 130 H.P. Clerget triplane; and the ‘Snipe’) – as well as with French Nieuport scouts NO.8 spent two years in the fiercest air fighting that the Western front could offer. As a fighting unit in the heat of the action, No.8 took a heavy toll of casualties, but it gave as good as it got, and often clashed with such elite enemy units as Baron Manfred von Richthofen’s ‘Flying Circus’. No. 8 tested rival flying tactics against the ‘red Baron’ and frequently came off best even when outnumbered. This is an excellent history of an elite flying unit and comes complete with some 30 photographs of men, machines and airfields and ten appendices on such subjects as lists of airfields occupied, air fighting tactics etc.
NAVAL EIGHT: A history of No.8 Squadron R.N.A.S. – afterwards No. 208 Squadron R.A.F – from its formation in 1916 until the Armistice in 1918
Excelllent history – written by several hands- of the first RNAS squadron to be attached to the BEF. Includes accounts of combat with the ‘Red Baron’.