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RAF Flying Training Manual (1927) | Compass Library

RAF Vickers Vimy Pilot's Flying Training Manual

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(Part II, Applied Flying)


H.M.S.O, London, 1927

An original R.A.F. flying manual, 'Air Publication 928', published by H.M.S.O. on behalf of the Air Ministry in November 1927. The manual is signed on the front cover by ‘Maurice W. J. Boxall’.

Maurice William James Boxall (1899-1940) served during WW1 as an officer in the Indian Army. He had left Britain in June 1916, sailing from Liverpool in the SS City of Marseilles on his way to India with a number of other officer cadets. By the end of the war he was a Captain in the 28th Punjabis, having fought with the Mesopotamian and Egyptian Expeditionary Forces. He remained in the army after the war, and joined the Waziristan Field Force on the North West Frontier in 1921. There is a large collection of letters, photographs and other information held at the Imperial War Museum relating to Captain Boxall’s army service between 1916 and 1922. In 1923 Captain Boxall was commissioned as a Flying Officer in the Royal Air Force. By 1924 he was stationed at RAF Bircham Newton in Norfolk, flying Vickers Vimy bombers with No. 7 Squadron. In April of that year he was injured when the Vimy he was piloting crashed into a hangar door. In 1925 he was elected to be a member of the Royal Aero Club. What happened next is a bit of a mystery, but in June 1928 an anouncement apeared in Flight magazine, stating that ‘Flying Officer M. W. J. Boxall is dismissed the service by sentence of General Court Martial (June 25th).’ The London Gazette published a similar notice 0n 31st August, stating that ‘Capt. Maurice William James Boxall, I.A. (ret’d), is removed from the Indian Army, on conviction by a General Court martial while serving with the Royal Air Force. Dated 25th June 1928.’ I have been unable to uncover any details about Captain Boxall’s court martial, but it must have involved a serious offence of some sort. If he was still with 7 Squadron at the time, his commanding officer would have been Wing Commander Charles Portal (later Air Marshall, Viscount Portal of Hungerford). I have found only two other references to Captain Boxall after the court martial. The first is on a list of passengers leaving Southampton bound for Quebec in Canada in August 1928. The second is a reference to his death, in June 1940, in Devon. Further research is needed to discover exactly how Captain Boxall’s RAF career came to such a sad end. (I will include copies of the details I have of Captain Boxall’s army and RAF career with the book).

R.A.F. Flying Training Manual Part II was first produced just after the First World War. It draws very heavily on the combat experience of the R.F.C and R.A.F. during WW1, and the tactics described and the planes depicted in the illustrations would have been familiar to any WW1 pilot. This book concentrates on the theory and practice of aerial combat, from individual dogfighting, to attacks on two-seaters, Kite Balloons and Airships. With sections on bombing, ground attack, gunnery, strafing and night fighting it is a detailed and fascinating insight into all aspects of aerial warfare as it was taught to R.A.F pilots and aircrew just after the First World War. The 'chivalry' of the aerial fighting of 1914 was very much a distant memory by then, as is clearly shown in the cold-blooded pragmatism of the section on attacking kite balloons:

'When destroying a balloon, every effort should be made to kill the observer; since trained personnel are more difficult to replace than material. If there is any wind blowing, the observer suspended from his parachute will soon drift away from the protection of the balloon defences and can then be destroyed with impunity; but if the day is calm, no time must be lost in attacking him as soon as the balloon has been dealt with.'

The book also includes sections on navigation, night flying, formation flying and many other aspects of R.A.F. training. It is very well illustrated with diagrams and line drawings of aircraft and combat situations.


In very good condition. The RAF binder is in very good condition with only minor signs of use. The pages are securely held in place by the original string fastening. The text and illustrations are in very good condition. The manual is signed on the front cover by ‘Maurice W. J. Boxall’.

Published: 1927
Illustrated with line drawings, diagrams & photographs.
RAF loose leaf binder boards with black titling
Dimensions: 150mm x 225mm
Pages: 108