As you might imagine, I am not the man behind the lens for this photograph but my maternal grandfather, Fred, certainly was – an earlier post shows him standing centre stage at the Sphinx his folding camera in hand. During the Great War he was a mechanic with the Royal Flying Corps training school at Aboukir in Egypt; if you click on “Fred” in the tag cloud, previous posts explain his story
The severely tilted aircraft is probably an Airco D.H.9. A colleague from my IT days who writes on the subject of early flying provides this interesting insight: This is unlikely to have been a crash from height – the aircraft is too intact for that. It is more likely that a trainee pilot made a heavy landing, and by a mixture of throttle mismanagement and a lack of control, managed to bounce his way towards the hangar.
Click on the image to enlarge and there is surprising detail and untold stories in the photograph – the canvas is torn back on the lower wing to reveal its delicate construction; why is the character in the hat sat on the ground and what is that upturned canvas covered object next to him; look closely and there are actually two aircraft in the background and what is the man with the pole about to do!
Without doubt, these are young men from another time where risk is a daily part of their lives.