Camel Pilot Supreme-Captain D.V. Armstrong DFC

Published: September 20th, 2020     
Product Image
Camel Pilot Supreme
Author: Annette Carson
Reviewed by: Dick Montgomery - IPMS# 14003
ISBN #: 9781526752673
Other Publication Information: Hardback,224 pages, color artwork by Lynn Williams, 100 color-B&W illustrations
Price: $49.95
Product provided by: Casemate Publishers

The story put forward by author Annette Carson, took place over 100 year ago. It is the story of a young man named D'Urban.V. Armstrong. DVA, as he is called throughout the book, was one of many airmen who served during the Great War. Unlike many of the pilots who became famous for their exploits during World War I, DVA survived the conflict, (spoiler alert!!!) only to meet his end two days after the Cease-Fire while flying an aircraft (Sopwith Camel) which he had gained fame having mastered. Ms. Carson writes about the reputation of the Camel being less than positive, and how DVA learned how to control the aircraft, and then instructed others how to control the Camel, significantly reducing accidents during training, (350 men died in Camel-related air accidents during training) and leading to the Camel having a very positive reputation among today's historians.

Ms. Carson has a well-established record of interest not only in famous pilots, but also in aerobatics. A review of an Annette Carson publication by Gordon Penner states, "Annette Carson is becoming quite the historian concerning the history and development of aerobatics. Three of her nine books are on aerobatics."

The path that led me to this excellent publication began with the receipt of a calendar for 2021. I received the 2021 calendar from "Cross and Cockade International", and it was an item that I was requested to review for "IPMS/USA". That calendar can be viewed and purchased by visiting the C&CI website.

The review of the calendar can be viewed on the IPMS/USA website.

And just a word about C&CI taken from their website; "Proceeds go towards ongoing maintenance of the British Air Services Memorial at St Omer, which was erected by the society in 2004 to commemorate the 8,000 airmen who gave their lives in France and Flanders during WW1." The review of the calendar was very positive, so if you are in need of a 2021 calendar then it is recommended that you purchase the calendar from C&CI, thus helping to maintain the British Air Services Memorial at St. Omer.

During my review of the calendar I was extremely impressed by the excellent aviation artwork and was featured on each "month page" of the calendar. I was particularly impressed with the artwork on the February page (a jpg of that page accompanies this review). The artwork features a Sopwith Camel flown by DVA, conducting aerobatics at a very low level. During the course of working on the calendar review, I had an email conversation with the artist, Lynn Williams, and it was Mr. Williams that led me to Annette Carson's excellent book.

  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Ch 1: South Africa: Family, Home & Military Service - 1
  • Ch 2: Royal Flying Corps: Early Days - 22
  • Ch 3: 60 Squadron, The Battle of the Somme - 43
  • Ch 4: Part 1: Bloody April - 76
    • Part 2: Ferrying & Flight Testing - 83
  • Ch 5: Home Defence, Forming Up With 39 Squadron - 97
  • Ch 6: 44 Squadron: Armstrong Meets Camel! - 106
  • Ch 7: 78 Squadron: By Day and By Night - 137
  • Ch 8: 151 Squadron & 3rd AIC: Master of the Night Flying - 163
  • Ch 9: In Retrospect - 197
  • Appendix I: Crash Analysis - 210
  • Appendix II: DFC Citation - 216
  • Appendix III: Posthumous Tributes - 218
  • Acknowledgements - 229
  • Bibliography - 233
  • Notes - 236
  • Index - 243

Ms. Carson sets the stage with chapters 1 and 2. As with all of the chapters in the book, Ms. Carson relies on documentation and historical records, where available, to describe DVA's upbringing and early years. In fact, Carson's research techniques and "time spent" ascertaining "fact" from "fiction" is one of the most significant factors contributing to the excellent and reliable quality of the information in the book.

My thanks to Casemate Publishers for the chance to review this great book.

  • Front Cover
    Front Cover
  • Back Cover
    Back Cover
  • DV Armstrong
    DV Armstrong
  • The Office
    The Office
  • Downed Aircraft
    Downed Aircraft

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