'The War in the Air; Vol. 1 The Part played in the Great War by the Royal Air Force'

Have a look at the excellent book by Raleigh named “The War in the Air; Vol. 1 The Part played in the Great War by the Royal Air Force”

Available as a complete HTML text (or as a raw RTF) via Gutenberg, legal and free:

Or, formatted for your Kindle (again free):

There is a tendency (understandable, but unfortunate) for the brave exploits of the RAF in WW2 to overshadow much of what happened long before 1939.

[quote]“These were the beginnings; in the four years and three months of the war the air
service grew and multiplied a hundredfold. At the date of the armistice,
the 11th of November 1918, there were operating in France and Belgium
ninety-nine squadrons of the Royal Air Force. In August 1914 there had
been less than two hundred and fifty officers in the service, all told;
in November 1918 there were over thirty thousand. In August 1914 the
total of machines, available for immediate war service, was about a
hundred and fifty; in November 1918 there were more than twenty-two
thousand in use, almost all of them enormously more powerful and
efficient than the best machines of the earlier date. In the course of
the war our air forces accounted for more than eight thousand enemy
machines; dropped more than eight thousand tons of bombs on enemy
objectives; fired more than twelve million rounds of ammunition at
targets on the ground; took more than half a million photographs;
brought down nearly three hundred enemy balloons; and suffered a total
of casualties not far short of eighteen thousand”.[/quote]

Seriously worth a read.