Video courtesy Royal Air Force via YouTube

Today marks the 100th anniversary of one of the bloodiest World War I battles.  The Battle of the Somme was fought in northern France with the British suffering almost 60,000 casualties on the first day alone. Somme was fought between 1 July and 18 November 1916, with over a million British, French and German casualties.

At the time, aviation was in its infancy. The Wright Brothers had only completed their first flight at Kitty Hawk 13 years prior. World War I was the first major conflict that used aircraft and the War was a catalyst for rapid gains in aviation technology.

The use of air power became a significant advantage for both sides and would change how future campaigns would be fought. Roland Garros, a Frenchman, was able to attach a machine gun to a plane’s fuselage and the Fighter was born. Along with the first Fighter came the first Aces, many becoming legendary heroes.

In this video, David Bremner, owner of the last airworthy Bristol Scout, explains the significant challenges of aerial warfare in 1916. Rudimentary training, unpredictable weather, and unreliable engines were all factors in the early days of aviation. The Bristol Scout was primarily used for reconnaissance and had a top speed of 94 mph.

Top Photo: Bristol Scout Reproduction, photo Wikimedia