• The pioneers of colonial aviation in the skies of Africa … This is the story of aviation in Southern Rhodesia from 1896 to 1940.
The pioneers of colonial aviation in the skies of Africa … This is the story of aviation in Southern Rhodesia from 1896 to 1940. It begins with the construction, during the 1896 Matabele Rebellion, of a hot-air balloon in Bulawayo to keep an eye out for approaching impis or lurking warriors scouting out the town's defences. It recounts the arrival and subsequent demise of the first aircraft to land in country in 1920; it tells of aeroplanes and the characters that flew them, their hardships and ordeals, their successes and their failures and, of course, the innumerable crashes. It tells of the spirit of the airmen and their mechanics, the esteem in which they and their deeds were held, and of the atmosphere that prevailed at the time, including the humour that is peculiar to airmen, in any age. It details the pioneering flights down Africa, the inauguration of commercial airlines and the birth of one of the smallest but finest air forces in the world. The book closes with the onset of the Second World War and the many young Rhodesians who volunteered to fly and fight for King and Country.