Baptism of Fire details the vitally important role played by the Royal Flying Corps in the first year of the war of 1914-1918: its pioneering of aerial reconnaissance, both visual and photographic; the essential, all important work of ranging for the artillery, and its ultimate development into a highly effective and important arm of the British Army. It is also the personal story of the courage of young airmen whose underpowered machines lacked the ability to climb to a height sufficient to protect them from both anti-aircraft fire and small arms fire from the ground. Young men, who daily – weather permitting – in infantry terms, went ‘over the top’ every day to face the fire and shock of the enemy. There are 160 illustrations: for good size, and informative captions, these are presented on individual pages following each of the relevant chapters. (not in the usual photographic sections.) There are six maps. There are three appendices: Appendix I: The departure of the RFC to France in August 1914: a listing of the men and aeroplanes, types and serial numbers that flew to France on 13 August 1914 plus those men and machines that went by sea. Appendix II: The aeroplanes, by type and serial numbers, used by the RFC in 1914-1915, including those purchased from the French. Appendix III: Casualties: August 1914 – August 1915. There are extensive chapter notes; selected biographies of prominent people; a bibliography, and an index.