Thursday, 4 September 2008

Book Review: Essex And Its Race For The Skies 1900-1939

Graham Smith charts the history of aviation, pre- and post World War One, from a local perspective devoting a chapter (entitled ‘When Death Rained From The Skies’) to the air raids by Zeppelins, and aeroplanes (the Gothas and Giants, otherwise known as ‘R-planes’).

Aviation was the hobby of gentlemen who became personalities. Britain lagged seriously behind the Germans in the development of craft and defence of the air. The opening of Flight Stations at Goldhanger, Suttons Farm (Hornchurch), North Weald, and Stow Maries came as a response to the fearful attacks by Zeppelins. Initially these airfields held a flight of six aeroplanes.

The book is illustrated with pictures of the aeroplanes, a Zeppelin, bomb damage at Braintree and reproduction postcard of Lieut. W Leefe Robinson, who brought down the Zeppelin at Cuffley.

‘Essex And Its Race For The Skies’ by Graham Smith (Countryside Books, 2007) is available in paperback. £10.99.

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