I was recently re-reading Sagittarius Rising by Cecil Lewis describing his adventures in the Royal Flying Corps in WW1. I remember my grandmother always wore her brother’s RFC “wings’ badge with pride. I googled him and found out that he was also a WW1 fighter ace. This was the time when new recruits to the RFC had an average life of three weeks. He started with Se5 squadron 84 in Northern France on 17 July 1918. By 8 August, three weeks later he had 12 successful hits, amazingly shooting down 3 Fokkers (sic) on one day; he was then severely injured and invalided out. In November 1918 he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Uncle Billie was always kind to me giving me a 21st present of a sturdy leather suitcase with my initials on the side-we now keep dressing up clothes in it-later he gave me a leather writing case, also with my initials. At Cambridge I used a portable British Empire typewriter from his factory in Birmingham. I am sorry I never had the opportunity to hear his war stories. He came to my wedding on 25 September 1971 but died three months later.