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Virtual tour 21 - Air Battle

Air warfare barely existed when the First World War broke out, but airplanes evolved rapidly as the war progressed. Planes were not only used for airborne intelligence, but also for hunting enemy planes and carrying out raids. By 1917, aircraft warfare was flourishing and the number of fights between planes had increased, involving even more men. The year 1917 showed a real turning point in the war. The Air Force’s role evolved from observing and warning to a full integration in the war operations. Aircrafts not only gathered useful information, but also led the artillery, supported the ground troops and carried out raids.

Object 1: Officer tunic Royal Flying Corps

During the war, this tunic belonged to an officer of the Royal Flying Corps. It was also called "maternity jacket" because the garment is reminiscent of maternity clothes. (MMP1917, MZ 06089)

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Object 2: Pennant

Airplanes not only gathered useful information, they also supported ground troops. With this pennant from the Royal Flying Corps, British airmen dropped messages in their own lines. (MMP1917, MZ 06149)

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Object 3: Hythe Gun Camera Mk III

During the First World War, British airmen were trained with this "Hythe Mk III Gun Camera". The device could be used to determine precisely whether a gunner in training could hit a target during an air battle. Handling this device was very similar to a Lewis Gun, a weapon frequently used during the war. A built-in camera was activated by pulling the trigger. During the training flights, the “gun” recorded whether a flying "target" that was following the training flight would be hit by the gunner when he pulled the trigger. (MMP1917, MZ 06786 and MZ 06787)

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