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By Alan E. Durkota

The tale in phrases and pictures of the 8 aviation recipients of the U.S. Medal of Honor in WW I, together with Eddie Rickenbacker, Frank Luke, Charles Hamman, and Francis Ormsby. contains colour profiles in their planes.

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On Wednesday 18 August the first historic reconnaissance was flown by P B Joubert de La Ferte, in a Bleriot of 3 Squadron and G W Mapplebeck in a BE2 of 4 Squadron. Both became completely lost in cloud but were able to return later unscathed. The RFC quickly proved its worth and on 22 August large bodies of enemy troops were spotted advancing on the British line. During the retreat from Mons the squadrons moved from field to field, moving in all about ten times in as many days. In particular the RFC spotted von Kluck’s attempt to outflank the British Expeditionary Force and the signal was taken personally by Henderson to British Headquarters.

By February 1909 Blériot was working on the machine which was to make him famous, the type XI, fitted with a 28hp Anzani engine. The duration of flight was gradually increased until he could remain airborne for over half an hour. In July of the same year he won the Prix du Voyage for a flight of 42 kilometres. On 5 October 1908 Lord Northcliffe, owner of the Daily Mail, had offered a prize of £500 for the first heavier-than-air flight across the English Channel. This was later increased to £1,000 and there were a number of aviation pioneers intent on collecting it.

After Voisin went his own way, forming a company with his brother, Blériot continued on his own. He gradually improved his designs, though on a number of occasions escaped severe injury during crashes. By February 1909 Blériot was working on the machine which was to make him famous, the type XI, fitted with a 28hp Anzani engine. The duration of flight was gradually increased until he could remain airborne for over half an hour. In July of the same year he won the Prix du Voyage for a flight of 42 kilometres.

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Aviators of World War One (Medal of Honor ) by Alan E. Durkota


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