Ian Mackersey - No Empty Chairs - Orion Publishing Group

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • E-Book £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9780297859956
    • Publication date:10 May 2012

No Empty Chairs

The Short and Heroic Lives of the Young Aviators Who Fought and Died in the First World War

By Ian Mackersey

  • Paperback
  • £9.99

The 1914-18 conflict narrated through the voices of the men whose combat was in the air.

The 1914-18 conflict narrated through the voices of the men whose combat was in the air.

The empty chairs belonged, all too briefly, to the doomed young First World War airmen who failed to return from the terrifying daily aerial combats above the trenches of the Western Front. The edict of their commander-in-chief was the missing aviators were to be immediately replaced. Before the new faces could arrive, the departed men's vacant seats at the squadron dinner table were sometimes poignantly occupied by their caps and boots, placed there in a sad ritual by their surviving colleagues as they drank to their memory.

Life for most of the pilots of the Royal Flying Corps was appallingly short. If they graduated alive and unmaimed from the flying training that killed more than half of them before they reached the front line, only a few would for very long survive the daily battles they fought over the ravaged moonscape of no-man's-land. Their average life expectancy at the height of the war was measured only in weeks. Parachutes that began to save their German enemies were denied them.

Fear of incarceration, and the daily spectacle of watching close colleagues die in burning aircraft, took a devastating toll on the nerves of the world's first fighter pilots. Many became mentally ill. As they waited for death, or with luck the survivable wound that would send them back to 'Blighty', they poured their emotions into their diaries and streams of letters to their loved ones at home.

Drawing on these remarkable testimonies and pilots' memoirs, Ian Mackersey has brilliantly reconstructed the First Great Air War through the lives of its participants. As they waited to die, the men shared their loneliness, their fears, triumphs - and squadron gossip - with the families who lived in daily dread of the knock on the door that would bring the War Office telegram in its fateful green envelope.

Biographical Notes

Ian Mackersey is a writer and documentary film-maker; his speciality is aviation biography. He began his career as a writer for The Dominion and later the New Zealand Herald, and has lived in Britain, Rhodesia and Zambia, before returning to New Zealand.



Visit his website at www.ianmackersey.com

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780753828137
  • Publication date: 03 Oct 2013
  • Page count: 288
  • Imprint: W&N
This moving book uses letters and diaries to evoke the terrible cost of such warfare...Sleepless nights, separated lovers and grieving parents are recalled with painful immediacy in this meticulously researched tribute to those who died or were lucky enough to survive. — Sally Morris, Daily Mail
This moving book uses letters and diaries to evoke the terrible cost of such warfare...Sleepless nights, separated lovers and grieving parents are recalled with painful immediacy in this meticulously researched tribute to those who died or were lucky enough to survive. — SALLY MORRIS, DAILY MAIL
W&N

Written in History

Simon Sebag Montefiore
Authors:
Simon Sebag Montefiore

WRITTEN IN HISTORY celebrates the great letters of world history, creative culture and personal life. Acclaimed historian Simon Sebag Montefiore selects over one hundred letters from ancient times to the twenty-first century: some are noble and inspiring, some despicable and unsettling; some are exquisite works of literature, others brutal, coarse and frankly outrageous; many are erotic, others heartbreaking. The writers vary from Elizabeth I, Rameses the Great and Leonard Cohen to Emmeline Pankhurst, Mandela, Stalin, Michelangelo, Suleiman the Magnificent and unknown people in extraordinary circumstances - from love letters to calls for liberation, declarations of war to reflections on death. In the colourful, accessible style of a master storyteller, Montefiore shows why these letters are essential reading: how they enlighten our past, enrich the way we live now - and illuminate tomorrow.

W&N

The Mesmerist

Wendy Moore
Authors:
Wendy Moore
W&N

Where Poppies Blow

John Lewis-Stempel
Authors:
John Lewis-Stempel

Winner of the 2017 Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize for nature writingThe natural history of the Western Front during the First World War'If it weren't for the birds, what a hell it would be.'During the Great War, soldiers lived inside the ground, closer to nature than many humans had lived for centuries. Animals provided comfort and interest to fill the blank hours in the trenches - bird-watching, for instance, was probably the single most popular hobby among officers. Soldiers went fishing in flooded shell holes, shot hares in no-man's land for the pot, and planted gardens in their trenches and billets. Nature was also sometimes a curse - rats, spiders and lice abounded, and disease could be biblical.But above all, nature healed, and, despite the bullets and blood, it inspired men to endure. Where Poppies Blow is the unique story of how nature gave the British soldiers of the Great War a reason to fight, and the will to go on.

W&N

Heyday

Ben Wilson
Authors:
Ben Wilson

'Excellent . . . This is narrative history of the highest quality' Andrew Lycett, Sunday Telegraph'Wonderfully engrossing and intelligent . . . clever and entertaining' Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday TimesHEYDAY brings to life one of the most extraordinary periods in modern history. The 1850s was a decade of breathtaking transformation, with striking parallels for our own times. The world was reshaped by technology, trade, mass migration and war. The global economy expanded fivefold, millions of families emigrated to the ends of the earth to carve out new lives, technology revolutionised communications, while steamships and railways cut across vast continents and oceans, shrinking the world and creating the first global age.In a fast-paced, kaleidoscopic narrative, the acclaimed historian Ben Wilson recreates this time of explosive energy and dizzying change, a rollercoaster ride of booms and bust, focusing on the lives of the men and women reshaping its frontiers. At the centre stands Great Britain. The country was the peak of its power as it attempted to determine the destinies of hundreds of millions of people. A dazzling history of a tumultuous decade, HEYDAY reclaims an often overlooked period that was fundamental not only in in the making of Britain but of the modern world.

Orion

617

Tim Bouquet
Authors:
Tim Bouquet

The inside story of today's Dambusters, 617 Squadron RAF, at war in Afghanistan.In May 1943, 617 Squadron RAF executed one of the most daring operations in military history as bombers mounted a raid against hydro-electric dams in Germany. 617 Squadron became a Second World War legend. Nearly 70 years later, in April 2011, a new generation of elite flyers, now flying supersonic Tornado GR4 bombers, was deployed to Afghanistan - their mission: to provide close air support to troops on the ground.Tim Bouquet was given unprecedented access to 617's pre-deployment training and blistering tour in Afghanistan. From dramatic air strikes to the life-and-death search for IEDs and low-flying shows of force designed to drive insurgents from civilian cover, he tracked every mission - and the skill, resilience, banter and exceptional airmanship that saw 617 through.

W&N

Churchill and Empire

Lawrence James
Authors:
Lawrence James
W&N

How to Create the Perfect Wife

Wendy Moore
Authors:
Wendy Moore

From the No.1 bestselling author of WEDLOCK. The Georgian scandal of one gentleman, two orphans and an experiment to create the ideal wife.This is the story of how Thomas Day, a young man of means, decided he could never marry a woman with brains, spirit or fortune. Instead, he adopted two orphan girls from a Foundling Hospital, and set about educating them to become the meek, docile women he considered marriage material. Unsurprisingly, Day's marriage plans did not run smoothly. Having returned one orphan early on, his girl of choice, Sabrina Sidney, would also fall foul of the experiment. From then on, she led a difficult life, inhabiting a curious half-world - an ex-orphan, and not quite a ward; a governess, and not quite a fiancée. But Sabrina also ended up figuring in the life of scientists and luminaries as disparate as Erasmus Darwin and Joseph Priestley, as well as that pioneering generation of women writers who included Fanny Burney, Maria Edgeworth and Anna Seward. In HOW TO CREATE THE PERFECT WIFE, Wendy Moore has found a story that echoes her concerns about women's historic powerlessness, and captures a moment when ideas of human development and childraising underwent radical change.

W&N

The Horror of Love

Lisa Hilton
Authors:
Lisa Hilton
W&N

Air America

Christopher Robbins
Authors:
Christopher Robbins

The incredible inside story of the world's most extraordinary covert operation.Air America - a secret airline run by the CIA - flew missions no one else would touch, from General Claire Cennault's legendary Flying Tigers in WW II to two brutal decades cruising over the bomb-savaged jungles of Southeast Asia. Their pilots dared all and did all - a high-rolling, fast-playing bunch of has-beens and hellraisers whose motto was 'Anything, Anywhere, Anytime'. Whether it was delivering food and weapons or spooks and opium, Air America was the one airline where you didn't need reservations - just a hell of a lot of courage and a willingness to fly to the bitter end.

W&N

Low Level Hell

Hugh Mills, Robert Anderson
Authors:
Hugh Mills, Robert Anderson

'The best 'bird's eye view' of the helicopter war in Vietnam in print today ... Mills has captured the realities of a select group of aviators who shot craps with death on every mission' R.S. Maxham, Director, US Army Aviation MuseumThe aeroscouts of the 1st Infantry Division have three words emblazoned on their unit patch: Low Level Hell. It was the perfect concise defininition of what those intrepid aviators experienced as they ranged the skies of Vietnam from the Cambodian border to the Iron Triangle. The Outcasts, as they were known, flew low and slow. They were the aerial eyes of the division in search of the enemy. Too often for longevity's sake they found the Viet Cong and the fight was on. These young pilots, who were usually 19 to 22 years old, invented the book as they went along.

W&N

Scream of Eagles

Robert K Wilcox
Authors:
Robert K Wilcox
W&N

Bullet Magnet

Mick Flynn
Authors:
Mick Flynn

A raw, honest and evocative account of life as the most highly decorated serving soldier in the British Army.From the breakneck pace of an opening where he is in action in Helmand province, under fire from the Taliban, Mick Flynn pulls no punches. It's obvious that he is a trained killer. But how did it reach this point? The journey starts with his childhood, a working class lad, learning to fight and finding himself repeatedly on the wrong side of the law. Even after joining the Army he is found at fault and jailed, an experience that finally shocks him into behaving himself. From there, it is off to Northern Ireland and straight into hotspots where Mick's courage and determination are all that keep him alive. There's love too: his estranged wife, Denise, is being brought back into the picture, just as Mick tries to start a new life with his girlfriend Rachel. Can he manage to separate his ferocious soldiering persona from the real Mick? As things remain complicated, Mike flings himself into further tours of duty, in Bosnia, Iraq, the Falklands. Action-packed, shoots-from-the-hip narration from an engaging hero, this is gritty realism at its most shocking.

W&N

Choose Your Weapons

Douglas Hurd
Authors:
Douglas Hurd

Noisy popular liberal interventionism? Or a more conservative, diplomatic approach concentrating on co-operation between nations? This is the debate that lies at the heart of modern politics and Hurd traces its most interesting and influential exponents.He starts with Canning and Castelreagh in post Waterloo Britain; to a generation later, the victory of the interventionist Palmerston over Aberdeen; then to Salisbury (Imperialism) and Grey (European balance of power); and finally to Eden and Bevin who combined to lay the foundations of a post-war compromise.That delicate balance has served its purpose for over half a century, but as we enter a new era of terrorism and racial conflict, the old questions and divisions are re-surfacing . . .

W&N

The Road Home

Max Arthur
Authors:
Max Arthur

How the men and women of Britain found 'the road home' after the Great War. From the SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author of THE LOST POST.11am, 11.11.1918: the war is finally over. After four long years Britain welcomed her heroes home. Wives and mothers were reunited with loved ones they'd feared they'd never see again. Fathers met sons and daughters born during the war years for the very first time. It was a time of great joy - but it was also a time of enormous change. The soldiers and nurses who survived life at the Front faced the reality of rebuilding their lives in a society that had changed beyond recognition. How did the veterans readjust to civilian life? How did they cope with their war wounds, work and memories of lost comrades? And what of the people they returned to - the independent young women who were asked to give up the work they had been enjoying, the wives who had to readjust to life with men who seemed like strangers?

W&N

Eden To Armageddon

Roger Ford
Authors:
Roger Ford
W&N

The Spartacus War

Barry Strauss
Authors:
Barry Strauss
W&N

The Fall Of The West

Adrian Goldsworthy
Authors:
Adrian Goldsworthy
W&N

Britain Since 1918

David Marquand
Authors:
David Marquand

A new political history of modern Britain - entertaining, instructive and thought-provoking.The history of democratic politics in Britain since the coming of universal male suffrage in 1918 is a dramatic one, crowded with events and colourful figures. As well as the great events of war and economic crises, and the quieter drama of constitutional change, this era has been studded with democratic protests of every sort.The story opens more than 350 years ago. The Levellers of the 17th century, 18th-century radicals, the Chartists and the Reform Acts are all part of the unsteady and fiercely contested progress towards a democratic constitution. Dreams, visions and ideals are important too - of George Orwell, and Enoch Powell, Milton, Thomas Paine and Edmund Burke, Churchill and Lord Salisbury, Aneurin Bevan and Tony Benn - for they have also shaped our outlook.

W&N

Cambrai 1917

Bryn Hammond
Authors:
Bryn Hammond

The story of the first great tank battle, and the genesis of one of the most formidable weapons of the twentieth century.Cambrai was the last - and most influential - battle fought by the British on the Western Front in 1917. With many of the Allies on the brink of collapse, only Britain was still capable of holding the Germans at bay. Over time, many myths have grown up around what happened at Cambrai. The events of this iconic attack are now buried beneath accumulated legends and misrepresentations built up over almost a century. It is remembered as the world's first great tank battle, but it was the brilliant British innovations in artillery techniques that most shocked the enemy. Equally important were the new 'stormtroop' tactics the Germans pioneered.Drawing on previously unpublished letters, diaries, first-hand accounts and official reports, Bryn Hammond's definitive account examines this military milestone, how the myths were created, and how they changed the face of warfare for ever.

W&N

1918

Peter Hart
Authors:
Peter Hart

The story of the huge mobile battles of 1918, which finally ended the Great War.1918 was the critical year of battle as the Great War reached its brutal climax. Warfare of an epic scale was fought on the Western Front, where ordinary British soldiers faced the final test of their training, tactics and determination. That they withstood the storm and began an astonishing counterattack, is proof that by 1918, the British army was the most effective fighting force in the world. But this ultimate victory came at devastating cost.Using a wealth of previously unpublished material, historian Peter Hart gives a vivid account of this last year of conflict - what it was like to fight on the frontline, through the words of the men who were there. In a chronicle of unparalleled scope and depth, he brings to life the suspense, turmoil and tragedy of 1918's vast offensives.