Over Flanders Fields

Andrew Thomas delves into the journal of Morane Parasol pilot Sidney Parker of 1 Squadron


A 1 Squadron Morane over the trenches.

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in June 1915, having spent six months in the infantry, 2nd Lt Sidney Parker, a Canadian infantryman, reported for duty at Farnborough on secondment to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) for pilot instruction. After his training he was retained as an instructor before being posted to France. Forty years later he set down his memories, and these extracts are from his time serving with 1 Squadron over the Western Front:

The day came when I was posted overseas and I proceeded from Boulogne to St Omer where we spent the night at RFC headquarters. Next morning the great General ‘Boom’ Trenchard [later MRAF Viscount Trenchard] asked me at breakfast if I thought I could fly a Morane. Not having seen one of these machines I said: “Yes I could.”

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