Knights of the air
Story by Stephen J. Thorne
There are few rivals in war who have shared the mutual regard and respect, even camaraderie, as did those who flew fighter planes during the two world wars.
Theirs was a singular experience, the scale and intimacy of which were unique in the annals of conflict, even aviation, before or since.
The chivalric tradition among flyers began during the First World War. Known as Knights of the Air, they blazed trails in the skies in canvas-and-wood airplanes with rudimentary instrumentation, sans parachutes. They fought mano a mano, skill to skill, sometimes just metres apart.