Lot 434WWI – Royal Flying Corps Diary of RFC...

Auction Date: 2/09/2014 at 01pm



WWI – Royal Flying Corps Diary of RFC Pilot John Wright, covering the period August 5th 1914 right through to September 17th 1942 (when it abruptly stops), written in a neat legible hand on approx 200+ pp of lined paper contained in a hard backed 4to sized book. A fine diary which will doubtless yield much new information. Wright, probably from Edinburgh, already in a Territorial Regiment was called up the day after war broke out. He joined the RFC in January 1915 – thus one of the first to join the fledgling service. He reaches St Omer in April 1915 joining No 7 Squadron Head Quarters Flight (under Dowding). He records visits by Hillaire Belloc and Prime Minister Asquith, and mentions the landing of Captain John Liddell who won the VC but did not live. He records a raid on German lines, the bringing down of a German plane and the development of new incendiary devices to bring down German balloons (unsuccessful), as well as a litany of entries recording comrades either killed or wounded in action including ‘Sgt Carlisle, No 1 Squadron’s crack flier’, Lt Russell etc as well as recording gallantry decorations to comrades. A wireless operator is subjected to ‘No 1 Field Punishment’ and almost killed by a landing plane while tied to a cross in the middle of the landing field. The diary continues after the war with a moving account of his tour of the battlefields in 1919: ‘...I stood in the Grand Place and tried to remember the places I knew so well but they were completely obliterated...it is pathetic to see the litter of bones and equipment scattered all over the place...’ The diary continues into the 1920 where he travels to the Far East and then on to Africa where he works for the Crown Agents – continuing into the 1930s where he is stationed in Nigeria and the Gold Coast. He returned to the UK in 1939 and records the outbreak of war : ‘...I felt a thrill run down my back...well it seems that we are back to where we were in 1914...’During this phase of the diary he appears to spend time both in the UK and in Africa. There is no reason given as to why the diary abruptly ends, but by this time he is in Africa, so was presumably not killed in the war. Inserted into the diary are a series of long letters to him from his wife ‘Nan’, providing accounts of German raids on Glasgow 1940/41

Hammer Price: £150.00

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