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By Mike Westrop

"No.10 Squadron of England's Royal Naval Air provider was once shaped at St. Pol, a suburb of Dunkerque, in February 1917, as a part of the speedy naval aviation enlargement programme required through the Royal Naval Air Service's dedication to aid the Royal Flying Cor"

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Sample text

Rhys Davids, who had already expended two drums of ammunition without any effect, caught the triplane briefly in his sights and fired again, using both his synchronised Vickers and the Lewis mounted on the upper wing at the same time. Immediately, the silvery-blue triplane turned and glided gently down to earth; Werner Voss, the Flying Hussar, was dead. A nation mourned for Voss, but perhaps an enemy airman who had seen him fall provided the only epitaph he himself would have wished. Of him, James McCudden wrote afterwards, “As long as I live I shall never forget my admiration of that German pilot, who, single-handed, fought seven of us for ten minutes, and also put some bullets through all our machines.

III scout was also modified for use as a seaplane, and Rumpler floatplanes were also in service. Ernst Heinkel designed a long sequence of reconnaissance and torpedo floatplanes that were used most successfully in action, but the W 12 biplanes and W 29 monoplanes, often mixed together in large formations, were the machines that led Friedrich Christiansen to glory and at the same time gained complete air superiority over the Channel for the once almost non-existent German Naval Air Service. During the two years that the Hansa Brandenburg seaplanes fought for the sky, the Zeppelin passed into history as an air weapon.

As the British infantry went over the top, wave after wave, and the German machine-guns broke the brief silence with their heavy repeating clamour, the Royal Flying Corps rose to find an unchallenged sky. Ten thousand feet below, the running khaki figures struggled forward until they fell like com before the scythe, their voices drowned for ever by the merciless hammering of the guns; but that first day of the tragic Somme offensive remained unforgettably quiet and serene for the men who fought in the air.

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