By (author) Franks, Norman L. R.; Illustrated by Dempsey, Harry
The Royal Aircraft Factory SE 5/5a was, along with the Sopwith Camel, the major British fighting scout of the last 18 months of the war in France. It equipped several major squadrons, the first being No 56 Sqn in April 1917. This unit became famous for the number of aces it had among its pilots, including Albert Ball, James McCudden, Geoffrey Bowman, Richard Maybery, Leonard Barlow, Hank Burden and Cyril Crowe. In all, 26 aces flew the aircraft with No 56 Sqn alone. Other well-known units were Nos 1, 24, 29, 32, 40, 41, 60, 64, 2 AFC, 74, 84, 85 and 92 Sqns. A number of Victoria Cross winners also flew SE 5/5as, namely Ball, Mannock, McCudden, Beauchamp Proctor and Bishop. Among the aces, no fewer than 20 scored more than 20 victories. In all, there were almost 100 SE 5/5a aces, and a large number of them are profiled in this volume. Supporting the text are more than 110 photographs, 37 brand new colour artworks and detailed appendices listing every pilot who 'made ace' on the SE 5/5a.