As the war grinded down to static positions, Aidan Liddell was wounded and sent home to recover, with the prospect that the seriousness of his injuries would prevent him from returning to active service. And indeed it did. Declared unfit for duty at the front, it seemed that for Aidan, the war was effectively over. But he still had an ace up his sleeve - he was a qualified pilot. Having trained before the outbreak of war at the Vickers School at Brooklands, Aidan was soon cleared for service with the Royal Flying Corps and he left for France to join No 7 Squadron on 24th July 1915. His aircraft would be the RE5, which required tremendous skill and judgement to handle, though he seems to have mastered the whims of his machine in a very short space of time. The RE5, with a top speed of 55 mph, was a tempting target for both ground fire and marauding fighters, which made every reconnaissance mission a test of mettle and courage for both pilot and observer.
Aidan’s first sortie left him running on vapour with only 10 minutes of fuel left and the aircraft badly damaged by shrapnel and machine gun fire. (More to follow ...)