OFFICIAL HISTORY OF AUSTRALIA IN THE WAR OF 1914-1918 Volume VIII – The Australian Flying Corps: 1914–1918


Volume eight, written by Frederic Cutlack, covers in great detail the first air operations in war undertaken by Australia. These first operations were carried out by the famous “Half Flight” of the Australian Flying Corps, which was despatched to disease-ridden Mesopotamia in 1915 to provide air services for the Anglo-Indian Army. This army was attempting to drive out the Turks and thus protect the Empire’s oil resources. The next phase came in early 1916, with the formation of No.1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, and its despatch to Egypt where it took part in operations in the Sinai desert and then Palestine. Cutlack places in perspective the role played by the young Australian aviators in helping to win air supremacy against the German Air Force. After that victory, the Australian pilots had a devastating effect in the ground attack role, particularly in the final offensive against the Turkish armies in 1918. Finally, Cutlack describes the achievements of squadrons 2, 3 and 4, which arrived in France at a late, crucial stage of the war. After the briefest introduction to an entirely new way of fighting, they were sent into the thick of the aerial battle, remaining on operations until the war ended.