Originally published under the title An Airman's Outing, this magnificent title chronicles the daily life of the Flying Officer during the Great War. Touchingly dedicated to 'The Fallen of Umpty Squadron R.F.C.', Bott chronicles the lives and losses of his squadron as they carried out their duties over France in 1916. A modest and unflinching account of Great War aviation, Bott neither aggrandises nor dismisses any achievement of his crack squadron. A squadron that suffered so heavily, holding the record for casualties sustained by any flying squadron during three months, from the beginning of the war to the end of 1916 - a testament to the bravery and determination of the men who continued to serve within it. Tinged by this sadness, My War in the Air 1916 still conveys the aspirations of the British Royal Flying Corps in their early days, and the hope its many flying aces placed in the establishment, as a powerful tool to defend and protect. As W. S. Brancker states inside, 'War has been the making of aviation; let us hope that aviation will be the destruction of war.'
Captain Alan John Bott was a World War I flying ace credited with five aerial victories as a pilot and a further three victories during his time as an observer in 1916. Bott first served with the Royal Garrison Artillery before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps. He flew as an observer/gunner in the rear seat of a Sopwith from early 1916. On one flight, he slapped out an in-flight fire with his gloves and was awarded his Military Cross partly for this action. After the war he also helped to found the famous Pan Books Imprint in 1944, eight years before his death in 1952, where ended the life of a truly extraordinary man and a heroic pilot.