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Pilot manual

Glossary of Terms

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In the quest for authenticity I've made no attempt to explain the terms used by the cast of players in The Larks. I felt that to do so would break the reality - one pilot would hardly explain to another what he meant by Flaming Onions. But in recognition of the fact that some of the terms might be obscure to many readers I included a glossary at the end of the book. It's repeated here for interest.

Ack Emma:WW1 phonetic for A.M. - Aircraft Mechanic. Also A.M., as in morning.

Albatros:Usually applied to the German scout, though the Albatros factory produced many types before their famous shark-nosed fighter.  From the DIII onwards it was commonly called the V-Strutter because of its main strut layout.  The single-spar lower plane meant there was only one anchor point at the lower end of the interplane struts.  This led to weakness in the lower wing, sometimes leading to collapse in a high-speed dive.

Archie :Anti-aircraft fire. Spoken of as a person by pilots: “Archie’s got a bee in his bonnet today!” Reputedly named after the refrain of a popular song: “Archibald, certainly not!”

Baby Elephant:Spotter aircraft, term mainly used by Australian infantry

BE2c:Also known as a “Bloater”, or more frequently simply “2c”, the BE2c was yet another questionable product of the Royal Aircraft Factory. The Germans called it “kaltes fleisch“ – cold meat, while the British press dubbed it “Fokker Fodder”.

Belgium:Apart from the country, Australian slang for a fatal wound

D.O.P.:Deep Offensive Patrol. Patrol several miles behind enemy lines intended to impose air superiority.

Effel:Popular name for the windsock – short for “French letter”

Eindecker:German Fokker monoplane, responsible for the “Fokker Scourge”

FANY:First Aid Nursing Yeomanry: A voluntary organisation which provided first aid and medical evacuation, frequently close to enemy action.

FE2b:Another, more successful, creation of the Royal Aircraft Factory. A large two-seat pusher biplane used mainly for observation and bombing duties.

Flaming Onions:Incendiary flares fired in rapid succession by rotating-barrel guns.  They were a feared and effective anti-aircraft weapon, believed (incorrectly) by many allied airmen to be joined by wires.  Their simple design was not discovered by the allies until late in the war.

Fokker:Any aircraft made by the Fokker factory. Early on, usually referred to the Eindecker; later in the war to the excellent DVII. Could also apply to the Fokker DR1 Triplane, though this was usually referred to as “Tripe” or “Tripehound”

Flying Sickness D:The RFC’s term for what the infantry called “shell-shock.” Now viewed as post-traumatic stress disorder, it was little understood in WW1.

Harry Tate:See RE8

Imshi:Go, leave, from Arabic: Yalla imshi

Linseed, Linseed Lancer:Field medic

LMF:Lacking in Moral Fibre – official term for cowardice. An arbitrarily applied and occasionally draconically punished transgression.

Maghrib:Islam prayer said just after sunset.

Mihrab:Wall niche used to indicate the direction of Mecca.

Ocean Villas:Intentional mispronunciation of Auchonvillers.

P.B.I:Poor bloody infantry.

Pitot:Primitive method of indicating airspeed by means of a column of liquid on the dashboard, pushed up by the air pressure in a forward-facing pipe (still called the pitot tube), usually mounted on the wing outboard of the propeller wash.

R.A.F.:Until April 1st 1918, this invariably referred to the Royal Aircraft Factory, manufacturer of aircraft like the BE2, FE2b, RE8 and SE5. The “E” in all designations stood for “Experimental”. Few of the experiments were successful.

RAP:Regimental Aid Post: A first-aid and triage station positioned near the front line.

RE8:Designed and built by the R.A.F. as a replacement for the unloved BE2, the RE8, often known as Harry Tate, provided unforgivably little improvement.

Tickler’s Artillery:Improvised grenade made from empty food tins. Named after Tickler’s Jam, which was available in two flavours: red or green.

Tripe, Tripehound:Usually refers to the Fokker DR1 Triplane, though – confusingly – may also be applied to the Sopwith Triplane.

V-Strutter:See Albatros.

Wipers:Intentional mispronunciation of Ypres

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