Author(s): Adam Claasen
More than 1000 New Zealanders served in the Royal Flying Corps, Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Air Force.
Several, including Sir Keith Park, later became senior air commanders of the Second World War. Among them were leading air aces, including Keith Caldwell, Ronald Bannerman and the famous tennis player Anthony Wilding. A special type of New Zealander who craved risk and adventure, and who loved speed and engines, they went up in tiny, fragile aircraft to face enormous danger. If they survived their training -- and many did not -- then they had to survive encountering the German air aces.
Historian Adam Claasen tells their fascinating and little-known story, and explains how their courage enabled military aviation to develop.
Longlisted for 2018 Ockham NZ Book Awards - The Royal Society Te Apārangi Award for General Non-Fiction.
Adam Claasen is a senior lecturer in history at Massey University's Albany campus. Adam's teaching and research is focused on the New Zealand military experience, German history, the Second World War in Europe and the relationship between film and history. He has received a Smithsonian Institution Fellowship, was the Fulbright Visiting Lecturer in New Zealand Studies at Georgetown University, and has been presented with a Vice-Chancellor's Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching. His doctoral thesis was published as Hitler's Northern War: the Luftwaffe's Ill-fated Campaign, 1940-1945 (Kansas UP, 2001). More recently he has written on the part played by New Zealand and Australian airmen in the Battle of Britain: Dogfight: the Battle of Britain (Exisle 2011). He has presented conference papers and published articles in scholarly journals on military intelligence, the Luftwaffe, general airpower and geo-strategy in war.