Flying Tigers


This handsome gent is one of the last of a gallant breed: the men who flew the sturdy but obsolescent Curtiss P-40 against the Japanese Army Air Force in China during the Second World War. He's Wilfred Taylor, 97 years old and still going strong though he's lost his sight. In 1944, he was a first lieutenant in the 118th Tactical Recon Squadron of the 23rd Fighter Group. The 23rd FG replaced the American Volunteer Group and was still commanded by Tex Hill, one of the original Flying Tigers. Lieutenant Taylor was awarded the Purple Heart for burns received after his P-40 crashed while taking off on a strafing mission, three days before his daughter was born and eight days before his outfit had to evacuate Guilin. (A tip of the virtual hat to Orin Hoopman.) For a 1944 photo, see the Annals of the Flying Tigers.

I've posted a final installment of pilot biographies, from Erik Shilling to Peter Wright. See them here. This completes the roster, which thanks to the flight instructors actually comes to 110. Their stories, are told in 100 Fair Pilots: The Men Who Became the Flying Tigers, a $2.99 e-book from Amazon stores worldwide and most other e-tailers. I'll be updating the text as new information comes in, as it regularly does.

I was blown away by the Netflix film, Beasts of No Nation, which features two Oscar-worthy performances (by the boy soldier and the Commandant) and a breathtaking look at combat as practiced in Africa, war for the sake of war. For books this month, I went back to the Great War, whose centenary is bringing us some remarkable second thoughts, this one about The Fall of the Ottomans. The Ottoman Empire lasted 400 years but came crashing down in 1918, leaving a small rump state called Turkey, plus a bunch of British and French "mandates" that led in time to the horrendous mess we know today at the Middle East, where Syrians flee to Europe by the hundred thousand, Palestinians stab Jews in the streets of Jerusalem, Iran builds a nuclear bomb, and the United States just can't do anything right.... On a happier note, I am enjoying Vladimir Nabokov's brilliant Lectures on Literature, taken from a course he taught at Syracuse in the 1950s. What lucky students those were! Go here for more about these books. Blue skies! — Dan Ford

Welcome to the forum!

Here are a thousand or so files on airplanes, pilots, and the wars of the past hundred years, grouped under these headings:

Annals of the Flying Tigers
Annals of the Brewster Buffalo
Annals of Poland: war and exile, 1939-1948
Japan at War, 1931-1945
Annals of the Chinese Air Force
Glen Edwards and the Flying Wing
Remembering Bluie West One
The Spadguys Speak (carrying a nuke to Sevastopol)
Annals of Vietnam
War in the Modern World

Plus these excellent places to look for more:

Book(s) of the month
Reviews of worthwhile military+aviation titles
The Piper Cub Forum

Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

Poland's Daughter

On this website: Front page | Flying Tigers | Chinese Air Force | Japan at War | Brewster Buffalo | Glen Edwards & the Flying Wing
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Posted November 2015. Websites © 1997-2015 Daniel Ford; all rights reserved.