An album of photographs of experimental hydro-aeroplanes (seaplanes) and other aircraft undergoing testing under the auspices of the Royal Naval Air Service during the First World War.

RNAS Photograph Album. 1915-1918 Single volume album, bolt bound, folio, brown quarter morocco over green cloth boards. Minor rubbing and edgewear, strong, sharp and solid.


176 high quality images, many of them full page.(8”x10” or thereabouts) depicting a wide array of military aviation subjects; the majority being R.N.A.S. Subjects, primarily aeroplane types, crash scenes, dirigible and balloon testing, salvaging of German aviation equipment, a multitude of scenes showing the assembly, flying and inspection of a variety of seaplane types including the insanely imposing Curtiss Wanamaker triplane, a flock of Sopwith Camels, Short Dover bombers (being put through their paces at the RNAS base in Malta, crashing frequently and occasionally soaring majestically through the clouds), images of officers and men at Felixstowe Seaplane Experimental Station (although for the duration of WW1 seaplanes were referred to as “hydro-aeroplanes”), on base at Malta, torpedo testing at Calshot (Southampton) and where I believe to be Coudekerque in France, one of several French staging posts for the RNAS (both the RNAS and the better known army air wing the Royal Flying Corps were incorporated into what became The Royal Air Force in 1918). Also several images that I believe to be of the RNAS base at Long Island in the Gulf of Smyrna, including the aftermath of shelling by Turkish artillery. Clearly several of the more experimental approaches are intended to improve the range of fighter escorts for larger aircraft, several images show a Curtiss seaplane (A “Baby America” in RNAS parlance), with a Bristol Scout fighter secured to the upper wing as an attempt at “parasite” fighter cover, also depicted are several of the ill fated attempts to launch fighter planes by dropping them from airships and balloons, which on at least two occasions resulting in the deaths of the pilots. An extended description/images available upon request.


Offered by Jonathan Kearns Rare Books & Curiosities