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WW1 Fighter Pilot | McScotch | Compass Library

WW1 Fighter Pilot | McScotch

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NEWNES, London, c.1936

"No, Mac", he replied "They'll never be able to 'get' you, but as sure as I'm talking to you now, that's the way they're going to finish me. The other fellows all laugh at my carrying a revolver, think I'm doing a bit of play-acting in going to shoot a machine down with it, but they're wrong—the reason I bought it was to finish myself as soon as I see the first sign of flames"

The classic memoir of WW1 aerial warfare, written by a former Nieuport Scout and S.E.5 pilot and 'ace' who served alongside Mick Mannock V.C. with 40 Squadron R.F.C. on the Western Front. 'McScotch' was the pseudonym used by Lieutenant William McLanachan. McLanachan remains a somewhat controversial and shadowy figure in the annals of WW1 aerial combat.

Despite having written this superb account of his time as front line fighter pilot, little is known about the rest of his life. After serving for two years in the Infantry, MacLanachan transferred to the RFC and was posted to No. 40 Squadron in May 1917. He flew the Nieuport Scout, and the S.E.5. He was posted to a home defense squadron in 1918, but only includes his service with No. 40 Squadron in France in this book. During his time with 40 Squadron he was officially credited with seven victories. After returning to England early in 1918 McLanachan is said to have resigned his commission in the RFC and resumed his pre-war medical studies. But that is pretty much all that is known about him. And doubt has been cast on the veracity of some of his claims, partcularly the closeness of his friendship with Mick Mannock. Yet for many the account he presents in Fighter Pilot has the ring of truth, and above all it is an invaluable insight into the mind and character of Mannock, an enigmatic and much misunderstood figure.

Along with Victor Yeates' superb Winged Victory, McLanachan's Fighter Pilot is essential reading for anyone interested in the psychology of WW1 pilots and the incredible strain of combat flying.


In good condition. The boards are in good condition, with some marks, a slight lean to the spine, and some fading to the spine. The binding and hinges are good and secure. The text is in good condition, with a few marks and some foxing, mainly to the preliminary pages, the last few pages, and to the edges of the text block.

Published: c.1936
Blue boards with blue titling
Illustrated with 15 photographs and a fold-out map
Dimensions: 150mm x 220mm
Pages: 248