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& Bullets

Musings on the worlds of aviation, military and international affairs.


With reviews of books that cover these topics


Over and Above

Capt. John Gurdon DFC

(appendix by Norman Franks)


Grub Street, June 2018

This book was first published in 1919, and is a thinly disguised autobiographical novel of Gurdon’s time in the RFC on the Western Front.  Gurdon had a distinguished career with 28 victories (mainly in the Bristol F2b). The novel format allows Gurdon to explore themes which would have been difficult to treat directly in an autobiography: combat stress/PTSD being the main issues. The reader is left in no doubt about the mental strains endured by RFC crews. Camaraderie was strong, yet relationships could be snuffed out in an instant.


The reported speech seemed, to this reader, from another era; which of course it was. This jarring effect soon fades, and one sinks into the strange world of the RFC officer class.


A timely re-publication – Gurdon clearly could both write and fly rather well.



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