Australian NCO served as Bristol Fighter pilot with 1 Sqdn Australian Flying Corps in Palestine, 1914-1919, POW and escaped from prison in Constantinople, Turkey
REEL 1 Background in Australia, ca 1895-1914: question of interest in aviation; reaction to compulsory military training; education;. Period working in Suva, Fiji, ca 1913-1914: work as fitter with Fiji Shipping Company; dismissal due to illness; work playing pianola in cinema in Fiji,; role with machine gun section on formation of Fiji Volunteer Corps, ca 1914; working voyage back to Australia, ca 8/1914. Background to posting as corporal in machine gun section of F Coy , 5th Bn, Australian Infantry, 8/1914:. Aspects of period at Anzac, Gallipoli, Turkey, 4/1915-5/1915: landing, 25/4/1915; wound during attack. Background to surrendering wound pension rights on evacuation to Australia, 1915. Recruitment initially as air mechanic to 1st Sqdn, Australian Flying Corps at Point Cook, 1916: status as Gallipoli veteran and consequent posting as armourer sergeant; voyage to Egypt, 3/1916-4/1916. Background to receiving flying training at Aboukir, ca 1916: story of meeting Brigadier General W H G Salmond's whilst in his railway compartment during trip to Cairo and his arrangement to secure Haig a place on prior theoretical course; aircraft flown; position as NCO pilot in AFC and consequent initial classification as sergeant in Royal Flying Corps; altitude test; story of reaction of officers from 1st Sqdn, AFC to Haig's status as pilot, Salmond's assistance in resolving accidental classification as deserter by unit; reaction of Captain Williams.
REEL 2 Continues: reaction of Captain Williams. Period with 1st Sqdn, AFC in Palestine, 1917-1918: switching back to AFC uniform; meeting Salmond during inspection visit and consequent commission; opinion of award of VC to Lieutenant Frank McNamara for rescuing Captain Rutherford, 20/3/1917; story of reconnaissance patrol with Rutherford in Bristol Fighters in Amman area, 1/5/1918, including tactics employed, successful combat with German aircraft, circumstances of Rutherford being forced down behind Turkish lines, crash whilst attempting to take off during rescue attempt by Haig, coming under fire from group of Arabs and being taken prisoner by Turkish soldiers before being handed over to German officers. Recollections of period as POW at Adrain Khar Hissa and Constantinople, 1918: prior view of German airfield and relationship with German pilots illustrated by their co-operation in dropping note to unit; journey with Captain Alan Bott to Constantinople and question of his contacts with British secret agents; use of houses taken by Turks from massacred Armenian population; conditions; interrogation by Turks; officers present; circumstances of Bott's capture.