Billy Stutt and the Richmond Flyboys - The New South Wales State Aviation School 1915-1918 and beyond

Neville F Hayes, softcover, 245 x 172mm, 314 pages, fully illustrated: many B+W photos, maps and drawings, 2008, Pacific Downunder, ISBN 9780957870531, RRP $49.95.

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Billy Stutt and the Richmond Flyboys - The New South Wales State Aviation School 1915-1918 and beyond

Neville F Hayes, softcover, 245 x 172mm, 314 pages, fully illustrated: many B+W photos, maps and drawings, 2008, Pacific Downunder, ISBN 9780957870531, RRP $49.95.

Note: overseas postage surcharges may apply

This highly entertaining book chronicles a colourful yet little known chapter in Australia's military history that is even today not fully recounted in the official war history.

During WWI the defence pilot training program at Point Cook in Victoria was struggling to produce enough pilots for the war effort so the NSW Government created its own military aviation school on Ham Common at Clarendon, west of Sydney, in order to prepare more pilots for service abroad.
With no suitable training aircraft available, NSW turned to the USA's Curtiss Jenny JN4.
The coup de grace was the appointment of WJ "Billy" Stutt as Chief Instructor. A Melbourne boy, Billy learned to fly in England before the war and later returned to Australia with amazing credentials - Chief Test Pilot at Farnborough, over 6000 flights in many aircraft types without one crash, and the first King's Messenger, appointed when the war began to ferry planes and messages across the Channel and often returning with captured German planes.
In the first two years of instruction Stutt undertook training of around 130 pilots, most of whom were seconded directly to the RAF in England.
After the war the land and buildings on the Common became the fledgling RAAF Richmond Air Base.
Apart from being a powerful historical account "Flyboys" is an absorbing read that recounts hilarious anecdotes contributed by the pilots' families and publishes many previously unseen private photographs.

"Truly brilliant. I consider this publication one of the best on early Australian aviation and I'm sure it will be used as the standard reference work on the history of Richmond Aerodrome."
Ben Dannecker, Pilot/Historian, Nowra NSW

"A superb history meticulously researched and presented. I thoroughly recommend it."
Keith Meggs, DFM, AAM, Pres. AHSA, Fighter Pilot, 77 Sqn

 

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