A classic aviation memoir: an American pilot’s account of air combat in the First World War.
Charles J. Biddle, a Philadelphia native, was active in France beginning in 1917, where he flew as a volunteer, initially for the French in Escadrille 73, and then in the American 103rd Aero Squadron, the Lafayette Escadrille, and then the 13th Aero Squadron and 4th Pursuit Group, which he commanded.
His memoir was published shortly after his return to the United States and provides an immediacy lacking in other books that were written later. Accounts of US pilots from this period are relatively rare, and this one paints a compelling picture of a group of Americans fighting as volunteers for the French. Biddle’s US compatriots soon established their own capability and wrung free of French direction—and as this book reveals, it was largely because of their combat prowess.
For his service, Biddle was awarded the French Legion of Honour, the Croix de Guerre, the American Distinguished Service Cross, and the Belgian Order of Leopold II. This memoir gives us a unique perspective on America’s participation in the Great War.