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 2022 journal of Cross & Cockade International features a color photograph of a Nieuport 24bis, 4487, after being captured in Bulgaria, here at Belitsa aerodrome. She is still carrying her French markings from Escadrille 506, although at the time of capture, she was flying with Escadrille 501. The rear cover shows her in three different schemes in service with the Bulgarian Air Force. The inside rear cover shows off another Bulgarian captured aircraft, in this case a Nieuport 24, 5346, from Escadrille 507. The illustrations show her in both French markings and Bulgarian markings. The center section, The Gazetteer Part 12, covers JUL-LES, however, no fold out map is included with this issue as in the past. The section consists of seven black and white photos, and eleven black and white maps.
Mitko Mitkov leads off this issue with an eight-pager on Bulgaria’s Nieuport Scouts that includes 22 black and white photographs. Bulgaria ended up capturing seventeen enemy aircraft during the war, utilizing five of them in missions. This incudes two Nieuport 24 Scouts and two Nieuport 24bis Scouts. While the Nieuport 24 and 24bis were quickly transferred to training units, they were step up from the Bleriot XI and Albatros B.I that the Bulgarian Air Force had to start WWI with. Mitko Mitkov provides a compelling history of the aircraft in Bulgarian hands along with biographies of the pilots that flew them. Page 53.225 shows off the captured Nieuport 24 bis, 4487, still in French markings of Escadrille 503. The repainted and unarmed aircraft can be seen in the lower photograph of one of its Bulgarian pilots, Asen Yordanov. Asen flew three training flights in the Nieuport 24bis before flying it to Udovo aerodrome where a machine gun from a crashed Nieuport 24 was installed.
The late Stewart K. Taylor is next with a twelve-page, 27-photograph, biography on Canadian 2Lt/Capt. Austin Lloyd Fleming in Days of Atonement. The youngest son of Toronto’s mayor was considered dashing and debonair, and was fast tracked to the front to fly Sopwith Pups. Unfortunately, his first victory was a fellow Englishman in a Nieuport Scout. Fleming’s Atonement was long and difficult as he was given a second chance in the Middle East. A. D. Harvey chimes in with something a bit different addressing Bombing and Air War on the Italian Front 1915 – 1918. The Italians were the first nation to utilize aircraft in warfare with their invasion of Libya in November 1911. Caproni’s trimotor heavy bomber were ready for WWI thanks to the foresight of Giulio Douhet, a contemporary of Billy Mitchell and proponent of strategic bombing. This article is three pages long with five photographs.
Ian Burns contributes a 24-page feature, Wings Over The Sinai: The Egypt Detachment RFC, 1914 – 1915, with 40 photographs and four maps. Filled with first person accounts from both sides of the war, this tale puts you in the middle of the Sinai flying observation and bombing missions in support of the Army. Page 53.243 shows off two of the early work horses, Vickers-built BE2a aircraft. Captain H.L. Reilly is shown in late 1914, possibly gussied up for his wedding day. Major S.D. Massy is shown near the end of his command of the Egypt Detachment RFC before being assigned command of 30 Squadron in Mesopotamia. Captain H.L. Reilly can also be seen standing in front of a RAF BE2a in 1913. A great view into flying obsolete aircraft in a desert environment where the struggle was real just to maintain the aircraft in flyable condition. The conclusion, and Third installment of Richard Chancellor’s feature on Tom Owen is up next. This 15-page article includes twenty-six black and white photographs and is based on Tom Owen’s diary as a RE8 pilot. A nice photograph of a 4 Squadron RE8, E43, on May 20, 1918, is found at the top of page 53.275. Tom Owen finished up his RFC and RAF career with 498 hours and 30 minutes of flight time in his logbook. Upon leaving the service, Tom returned to teaching, ending his career in education as the Chief Inspector of Schools for Wales.
Mick Davis chips in a two-page response on last issue’s article on Friendly Fire! Dieudonne Costes and Walter Bell, 8 July 1917. Four black and white photographs are included. Joe Moran highlights market news and Bob Gladding builds a Jadar-Model 1/72 Albatros C.XIII resin kit. Joe Moran takes on a diorama of the Roden 1/72 PZK-2 Austro-Hungarian WWI helicopter that was designed to operate between 500 to 1000 meters. Arguably better than riding under a hydrogen filled balloon, the prospect of getting out of this helicopter involved detaching the platform above the rotating blades and riding a parachute down. Choose your poison….The Bookshelf section is a review of WWI aviation specific books and magazines with this issue totaling seventeen.
- Editorial by Mick Davis
- Bulgaria’s Nieuport Scouts by Mitko Mitkov [Page 53.225]
- Days of Atonement: 2Lt/Capt. Austin Lloyd Fleming… by Stewart K. Taylor
- Bombing and Air War on the Italian Front 1915 - 1918 by A. D. Harvey
- Wings Over The Sinai: The Egypt Detachment RFC, 1914 - 1915 by Ian Burns [Page 53.243]
- Tom Owen: A Teacher Who Went to War, Part 3 compiled by Richard Chancellor [Page 53.275]
- Fabric: Queries and Feedback compiled by Mick Davis
- Modeling: New Releases and Kit Reviews compiled by Joe Moran [Page 53.284]
- Bookshelf – Edited by Paul R. Hare
As usual, this is another excellent issue from Cross & Cockade and I am always impressed with the quality of the articles, both from a research perspective, and readability. I really enjoyed the article on Bulgaria and their captured Nieuport Scouts as I have several ICM 1/32 scale kits staring at me from my build pile. 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 waiting for the next issue. My thanks to Cross & Cockade International and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great issue.