Cross & Cockade International Winter 2020 Volume 51/4

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Mick Davis, Editor
Other Publication Information
Softbound, A4 [8.27” x 11.69:], 80 pages
Product / Stock #
Volume 51/4
Product Picture

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 Winter 2020 journal of Cross & Cockade International features a nice sharp black and white photograph of Sopwith Camels of 70 Squadron in a Bickendorf shed in1918. The inside and outside rear cover continues with additional black and white pics of 70 Squadron at Bickendorf. This issue includes the fourth 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 eight pages, four period black and white photographs, and fifteen 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 Lens while St. Qentin is on the reverse side.

The late Stewart K. Taylor kicks off this issue with a biography of Canadian Lt. Kenneth Borman Watson of C Flight, 70 Squadron. Stewart K. Taylor covers this born gambler from birth to his death at the age of 63. The article also covers many of the other pilots of 70 Squadron and includes many first person accounts. Extending 25 glossy pages, I counted 66 black and white period photographs (including the covers), including the ones on display on page 51.242. Here, Lt. Kenneth Borman Watson is shown putting on an aerial flying display at Bickendorf in early 1919. You will also spot a Sopwith Snipe nosed over in early 1919. Watson had a chance to fly the Snipe before he left Bickendorf, but he considered it too heavy compared to his Camel experience.

Steve Mills follows up with a four page article on The World’s First Military Drone Aircraft: A Hidden History. This article includes five line drawings and five black and white photographs, including one featuring a rather famous beauty. Its first flight was in front some forty senior officers, the remote controlled drone took off, soaring into the air. However, like some of my early radio controlled flights, the aircraft looped and dove at the gathered crowd, tearing into the ground. Despite this, development continued.

David Méchin continues last issue’s biography of Renee Fonck with Part Two. Covering 13 pages, David Méchin covers Renee Fonck from March 1928 to his death in 1953. The next 13 pages cover Fonck’s ultimate downfall in France. Renee Fonck’s interaction with Vichy France and the French resistance put him under arrest by the Germans, and after the liberation of Paris, by the restored French Republic. I counted 18 black and white photographs, including the one on Page 51.252 showing Rene Fonck standing with the pilot of a Dewoitine D.520 in 1940. Paul R. Hare contributes a two page article on the short career of FE8 7624. Flown by Thomas George Mapplebeck, he caught a bullet in a fuel pipe downing him behind enemy lines. He would spend the next two years as a prisoner of war. Eight black and white photographs are included, featuring the FE8 in both RAF and German markings.

Colin A. Owers covers the history of Wright Aircraft in the United States Navy over the next fourteen pages. Starting with the Wright B-1 (AH-4) and closing with the Wright twin tractor Model K floatplane. I counted 21 black and white pictures that cover the acquisition and service of these aircraft. First person accounts on these aircraft really add to this feature as attempts to improve performance were battled. Roger Green transcribes a notepad by the famous Lt. A.P.F. Rhys Davids. This two pager includes five photographs as Rhys Davids describes “A Perfect Day” that was later crossed out to read “The Day of Days.

Logbook is an occasional feature compiled by Mick Davis. This time it covers Training Unit Markings at the South Eastern Area Flying Instructors School (SEAFIS). In only two pages it includes nine well captioned photographs. Fabric is another occasional feature by Mick Davis that includes correspondence from readers. This quarter, additional information on the crew of a DFW C.V is addressed, along with a group of enterprising young fellows that are building a full-size replica of the Handley Page O/400.

Joe Moran converts a Revell D.VII to a post war two-seater in Modeling with four black and white photographs. Fellow modeler Bob Gladding improves the Novek 1/72 Grigorovich M-5. 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 eighteen. Under Obituaries, Canadian Stewart Kenneth Taylor, an avid historian for Cross and Cockade, passed on September 29, 2020. Stewart had made a focus on preserving the history of Canadian WWI aviators and was friends with many of the greats, including Collishaw and MacLaren.


  • Editorial by Mick Davis
  • Luck Be A Lady Tonight by Stewart K. Taylor [Page 51.2]
  • The World’s First Military Drone Aircraft: A Hidden History by Steve Mills [Page 51.2]
  • The Rene Fonck: Allied Ace of Aces, Part 2 by David Méchin [Page 51.2]
  • The Gazetteer of British Flying Sites in France, Belgium, and Germany 1914 – 1920 Part 4: ALQ-AUL by Peter Dye, Roger Austin, and Mick Davis [Centerfold Map]
  • One Pusher Down: The Short Career of FE8 7624 – by Paul R. Hare [Page 51.2]
  • Wright Aircraft in the United States Navy – by Colin A. Owers [Page 51.2]
  • A Perfect Day The Day of Days– by Rhys Davids / transcribed by Roger Green [Page 51.2]
  • Log Book: Training Unit Markings: South Eastern Area Flying Instructors School compiled by Mick Davis
  • Fabric by Mick Davis
  • Modeling: New Releases and Kit Reviews compiled by Joe Moran
  • Bookshelf – Edited by Paul R. Hare
  • Obituaries : Stewart Kenneth Taylor 1931-2020

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.

Highly recommended!


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