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Gilbert Mapplebeck By Peter Mapplebeck
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I have always been fascinated by the life of Gilbert Mapplebeck,who was one of the first Royal Flying Corps pilots to fly to the continent at the very start of the 1st World War and was the first... More > British aviator to fly a reconnaissance over enemy territory. His life reads like something out of an adventure book: his determination to become a pilot; his posting to France in 1914; his reconnaissance flight over enemy lines; carrying out one of the first bombing raids on an enemy transport train; being badly wounded in an early “dog fight”; being shot down over enemy territory and his amazing escape back to England; and his tragic death in a flying accident just one year later. But his story has always been incomplete until two significant diaries written by Gilbert (Gib) came to light. In the first he tells us of his time in the RFC between July 1914 and February 1915. The second diary, written after the event, Gib tells the story of the ill-fated “sortie” over Lille.< Less

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