A History of No. 10 Squadron: Royal Naval Air Service in by Mike Westrop

By Mike Westrop

"No.10 Squadron of England's Royal Naval Air carrier was once shaped at St. Pol, a suburb of Dunkerque, in February 1917, as a part of the swift naval aviation enlargement programme required through the Royal Naval Air Service's dedication to aid the Royal Flying Cor"

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For this reason I have maintained a specific remit although some readers may find their own nation’s involvement in the Western Front underplayed (particularly with regard to contemporary tourism). This is regrettable but is in no small measure due to the gap that currently exists in research into tourists from Commonwealth countries outside of Australia, New Zealand and Canada to the Western Front. I hope this imbalance will be rectified in the future. The only concession to the manner in which the Great War is interpreted and experienced by another nation is my inclusion of the Musée de la Grande Guerre du Pays de Meaux in Chapter 6.

Stephen Miles documents, explores, and offers his own thoughts and analysis of this spiders’ web of issues that is part history, part anthropology, and part heritage and tourism. Drawing on his own original research and fieldwork, he unravels the strands of emotion and memory, of commercialization and commemoration; he tells how those he spoke to are moved to visit the places of their ancestors, and their feelings at having done so. He asks the difficult questions about the rights and wrongs of such activities, about how such landscapes of death and destruction became heritage, and what exactly does that mean for the old killing fields of the Western Front where so many who fought still lie just centimetres beneath the busy roads and fertile fields, rather than in the regimented rows of official war cemeteries.

In the South African Wars at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Boer fondness for trenches was thought to demonstrate a distinct lack of breeding – ‘real gentlemen would stand and fight’. But the industrialised nature of warfare was now more a matter of lethal blanket artillery barrages and the scything efficiency of ever more accurate machine gun technology which could kill or wound hundreds of advancing soldiers with brutal efficiency. Trenches were defensive and made any decisive military gain difficult and costly and often ephemeral.

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