winged victory

There has been a gap in my residency here at Shoreham airport while I finished editing my forthcoming book with Bloomsbury. Now, I am happy to say, I am back at the coal-face researching my next book which concerns all things flying – and I’m very happy to be back here.

Recent researches include reading about author Victor Yeates who wrote a book called Winged Victory, a semi-autobiographical novel about flying as a Sopwith Camel pilot during WW1. Here is a useful review of the book which I have just got hold of on Amazon for £2.

I am looking specifically for information – diaries, letters, photographs, memoirs – of pilots who were part of the Royal Flying Corps in 1918 and who undertook their training at Shoreham airport. If you have any information PLEASE do get in touch.

Here is a Sopwith Camel:


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Card sent by G. Hale A.C.2. Class 32 R.N.A.S.

from the Crystal Palace 20th September 1917

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The Cody Man-Lifter

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Thank you so much to everyone who came along the Iain Sinclair event with Chris Petit and Nicholas Royle. It was a very inspiring day.

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Jacob’s poetry workshop at the airport

Some comments from the children from Swiss Gardens Primary School in Shoreham after attending Jacob Sam-La Rose’s brilliant poetry session:

I really enjoyed it and I  think I’m going to do more poetry in the future. Jacob Sam-La Rose is a really good poet and he’s a really nice person and I’d like to meet him again and this was a great learning experience.

It was really good because we go to work outside seeing the planes while we were describing them and we put a long poem together as a group.

I liked all of it I would do it a hundred times more it was so fun Jacob is so good at teaching poetry he makes it funny (which is very important).

I really enjoyed all of it but my favourite bit was writing poems at the ned and I would do this workshop again. Finally I will always remember Jacob til the day I die.

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Today I’ve been reading about the Shorthorns, known by the marvellous name of the “rumpety”, flown in Shoreham in 1915.

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no vanishing point

‘Landsape was not the antithesis but the ally of abstraction, especially when seen from a cockpit. This was the conciliatory message of Piper’s contribution to Axis 8 in late 1937, an article called ‘Prehistory from the Air’. Piper had been studying the aerial photographs taken by his archaeologist friend O.G.S. Crawford, and marvelling at the new version of England they reveale. He had not seen it for himself, and in fact he would never go up in a plane. But as he looked at Crawford’s pictures, Poper could see that they heralded a whole new kind of art. Big hills were now flat shapes. There was no vanishing point, and no horizon. Immediately grasping the significance of these new vantage points, Piper constructed a whole history of painting in terms of the horizon line.  The Renaissance painter recorded his view from one position, with a stable horizon before him; the rules of perspective were established and kept the world in order. But with the advent of aerial photography, Piper argued, there is no longer a right way up, a foreground and a distance. Gravity does not exert its homeward pull. There are no axes around which to organize things and the visible world is let loose to fill the field of vision.’

Talking about John Piper, in Romantic Moderns, by Alexandra Harris

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