Cross & Cockade International Autumn 2020 Volume 51/3
Cross & Cockade International is a non-profit UK based group known as the First World War Aviation Historical Society that publishes their journal four times a year. They also provide a free newsletter (sign up on their website) and occasionally publish WWI themed books like the Sopwith Dolphin monograph I reviewed earlier for IPMS USA. This Journal is the sister of the US Journal, Over The Front.
The Autumn 2020 journal of Cross & Cockade International features a nice color photograph of a lineup of Sopwith Camels, 1-1/2 Strutters, and DH-4s of H.2 Squadron, Royal Hellenic Naval Air Service, late 1918. The inside rear cover continues with color profiles that depict a SPAD S.VII, a Caudron G.3, and a Caudron G.4. The rear cover features color side profiles by David Méchin featuring two SPAD S.XIIIs, a SPAD S.XII, and a SPAD S.XVII. This issue includes the third in a series of British flying sites in France, Belgium, and Germany from 1914 to 1920. This is a separately page numbered center section that consists of four pages, two period black and white photographs, and eleven black and white maps. Also included is a separate folded color 1/100,000 map consisting of eight pages when folded up. This color map represents the flying sites in Dunkerque while Hazebrouck is on the reverse side.
David Méchin kicks off this issue with Part One of a biography of Renee Fonck, arguably the greatest French fighter pilot of all time with 75 confirmed kills out of 142 claimed. Post-war analysis depicted that only 32 of these aerial victories claimed above the 75 confirmed are probably reasonable. Indeed, the Red Baron with 80 victories, was the only pilot to exceed Fonck, easily making him the greatest Allied ace in WWI. Fonck’s shooting talent was probably an extension of his prowess with rifles where he displayed extraordinary skills, all of which contributed to his ability in the air. Covering 17 pages, David Méchin covers Renee Fonck from birth to March 1928 where he finally gave up on trying to fly across the Atlantic. I counted 43 black and white period photographs, including the one on display on the bottom of page 51.151. Here, standing in front of his SPAD, Renee Fonck is displaying a German souvenir while wearing a huge bandage wrapping his head.
Anne and Roger Taylor follow up with a four page, ten photograph, biography of Frank Thomas Digby. Frank flew 25 different types in his service career with the RAF, including a successor to the Handley Page O/100 and O/400 bombers. You can see a photograph of a crashed Handley Page O/100 below (page 51.165) that was apparently not uncommon. Two Handley Page V/1500 bombers were prepared for a bombing raid on Berlin, but the mission was scrapped on the same evening the Armistice was signed.
A nice nine-page article by Paul R. Hare on the Royal Aircraft Factory BE8 and BE8a follows. Assisted with 18 black and white photographs, Paul covers the development and service of the BE8 and BE8a. One of the interesting photographs depicts structural testing at Farnborough (page 51.169). Notes on nearly every serial number of the 27 BE8 and 42 BE8a aircraft built are also included.
Paschalis Palavouzis delivers a thirty-six page feature in Part Two of Greek Naval Airmen at War. There are a whopping 111 black and white period photographs included. Paschalis takes us from where he left off in the last issue on the 1917 preparation for operations over the Dardanelles and the Gallipoli peninsula with the arrival of a Handley Page O/100 bomber. Similar to Part One, there are plenty of first person accounts to get you into the thick of things. An interesting photograph is depicted on page 51.186 where a Sopwith Baby seaplane pilot got distracted trying to clear a gun jam and had insufficient altitude to recover. Another, on page 51.199, is a nice clear portrait of FSL Constantinos Theodorakopoulos in front of his Sopwith Camel, keeping his right hand warm.
Joe Moran does a build review of the AZ 1/72 Hansa Bradenburg B.I kit in Modeling with three black and white photographs. Fellow modeler Bob Gladding uses his scratch building skills to modify Roden’s 1/72 Albatros W4 into the unique Sablatnig SF-4 fighter, accompanied by two photographs. Joe Moran also provides and update on new on-topic releases. The Bookshelf section is a review of WWI aviation specific books and magazines with this issue totaling five. Under Obituaries, Colin James Ashford, an avid contributor for Cross and Cockade, passed on June 14, 2020. Colin was also selfless in jumping in and providing color paintings for covers, often at the last minute.
- Editorial by Graham Chisnall
- The Rene Fonck: Allied Ace of Aces, Part 1 by David Méchin [Page 51.151]
- Frank Thomas Digby, DSC, DSO, CdeG, RNAS & RAF Service and Later Flying Career by Anne and Roger Taylor [Page 51.165]
- The Royal Aircraft Factory BE8 and BE8a– by Paul R. Hare [Page 51.169]
- Greek Naval Airmen at War – Part 2 by Paschalis Palavouzis [Page 51-186, 51.199]
- The Gazetteer of British Flying Sites in France, Belgium, and Germany 1914 – 1920 Part 3: ABB-ALL by Peter Dye, Roger Austin, and Mick Davis [Centerfold Map]
- Modeling: New Releases and Kit Reviews compiled by Joe Moran
- Obituaries : Paul Colin James Ashford 1919-2020
This is another excellent issue from Cross & Cockade and I continue to be impressed with the quality of the articles, both from a research perspective and readability. The period pictures, maps, and drawings in this journal come off looking great thanks to their printing on the journal's glossy paper. If you are into early / WWI aviation; this journal is an incredible source of information that will have you on the edge of your seat for the next issue. My thanks to Cross & Cockade International and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great issue.