View Full Version : Old RAF Book

vintage ATCO
24th Mar 2004, 19:38
A friend has very kindly loaned me a book he picked up at a second hand book store. It is a RAF Field Service Pocket Book, April 1918, Appears to have been owned by L a/c 16519 RFC J G Foster. It is fascinating.

The front page says:

'THIS book is intended primarily for the use of Equipment Officers. It contains information that is not easily accessible in any official publications. Owing to the fact that conditions alter so quickly in aviation, parts of it will very quickly get out of date unless amended from time to time.' This is written in April 1918.

This is the Index:

SECTION 1 Engines
La Rhone
R.A.F. 3A
R.A.F. 4A
Hispano Suiza
Rolls Royce "Falcon"
Rolls Royce "Eagle"
Engine Revolutions
Petrol Capacities

SECTION 2 Mechanical Transport
Care and Maintenance of
General Notes on Movements
On Rescuing M.T. Vehicles
Useful Information
[not included]

SECTION 3 Stores

SECTION 4 Huts, Tents and Hangars
Accommodation, Sizers and Capacities
On Camouflaging
Care and Maintenance

SECTION 5 Salving Wrecked Motors

SECTION 6 General Information
Army Forms and Books
Fire Precaustions
US Army Badges of Rank
Vapour Bath
Barometer Indications
Colour of Sky

SECTION 7 Miscellaneous Data
Capacities of Trunks and Vehicles

SECTION 8 Miscellaneous Tables
[not included]

Illustrations include:
Bristol Fighter on Trailor showing Padding Under Fuselage
Sketch of Scout Carrier
Plan of Vapour Baths
Loading Gauge

25th Mar 2004, 16:05
Any chance of a look see, VATCO, or even a copy...........?


25th Mar 2004, 18:05
I recently bought a book from a second hand book shop in Bournemouth for £1.
‘Plane Tales from the Skies’ by Wing Adjutant dated 1918.

It is dedicated to …….. A.G.B. and the other Inhabitants of the Ruins, Aboukir, Egypt, April – July 1917.

In the introduction the author only identifies himself as
W.T.B. Leamington 25-6-18.

A wonderful series of tales and sketches from the Western Front.

Would be interested if anybody knows who W.T.B. was.


26th Mar 2004, 04:37
Vapour Bath?????
Plan of Vapour Baths????


Genghis the Engineer
26th Mar 2004, 08:55
It's an engineering thing, probably to do with degreasing components.


vintage ATCO
26th Mar 2004, 20:06
Don't think so GtheE . .


"From a medical point of view, it is absolutely necessary that a cold sponge down immediately upon leaving the steam bath is made compulsory.

"It is necessary to use plenty of soap when in the steam chamber, rubbing well into the pores of the skin and sponging off afterwards from a tub of warm water, provided in the steam chamber itself."

I think we need one at OW :ok:


26th Mar 2004, 22:49
Well, having enjoyed OW's accommodation, I can understand
why. No complaints, I lost several pounds... Until I enjoyed their breakfast... no complaints there either!

Dr Illitout
29th Mar 2004, 08:33
I have a similar book, if not the very same (It's not at hand at the moment). I bought it from a jumble sale when I was about thirteen for the princely sum of two pence!!!!
My book has fold out rigging instructions for various Bi planes including the Vickers Vimy and Veron/Victoria. A full colour page showing tempering colours and a chart listing the weights of men, horses, mules and elephants for use when building bridges!. Now I'm thinking about it I think a trip to the loft is in order!
I would love to know how much it's worth, no it's not for sale.
By the way my interest in aviation didn't start at thirteen, sadly it goes back a lot further!!!!:D

Dr Illitout
29th Mar 2004, 09:49
Just back from the loft!!!. mine's the Royal airforce field service pocket book 1924. Not quite as old as yours VATCO but still a riviting read!!!
By the way the weight of a loaded elephant on one leg is 44 Cwts!!!. Answers on a post card to......

30th Mar 2004, 05:27
I have a RAF Flying Training Manual. Air publication 129, for official use only. Revised November 1937, reprinted 1939 with ink amendments to 1940. Interesting reading with drawings of open cockpits with helmets and gauntlets showing hand signals for formation flying.
In one paragraph on "Mislandings" in large bold print is "If in doubt - go round again" Some things have not changed.

30th Mar 2004, 05:43
Vapour bath??? Looking at that great drawing I take it a bath per day became mandatory in the RAF??? :} :}

(Careful, Woomera........ don't go there, you're outnumbered! :E )

Actually, it looks like a primitive sauna - but what was it used for and what is the relevance to the RAF?

Genghis the Engineer
30th Mar 2004, 06:12
I stand corrected!

Actually looks quite wonderful, I think it should be made compulsory at all grass airfields.

Presumably it's a necessary antidote to sitting for several hours at a time behind a machine whose tertiary product (after noise and thrust - in that order) was clouds of vapourised castor oil mixed with smoke particles.


30th Mar 2004, 07:48
Splendid bit of kit. Goes off to find tool kit, wondering where to get balloon fabric...

2nd Apr 2004, 19:22
What outastanding service VATCO, many thanks indeed for the copy - facinating stuff it is, too!


2nd Apr 2004, 20:04
Would this be " The Aviation Pocket Book " by R Borlase Matthews,
published by Crosby Lockwood & Son. If so a copy is held at the RAF Museum Hendon Archives, with other early editions of aviation books of the era.