Cavalry of the Air


Many of the airmen of the First Word War who challenged both the enemy and death did not survive. These are their stories.

In the clinging mud and trench warfare of WWI, it was soon clear that the cavalry — the elite of the elite — would be of little use.

The dashing men and officers of the cavalry searched for a way to be front and center in the conflict, and found it in the new air forces being established on both sides of the Western Front. Soon lances and sabres were replaced by silk scarves and machine guns. Combat on horseback was replaced by dogfights in the air — one-on-one and in great flying formations — always between warriors. No technology changed more in the five years of the war, and none would have a bigger impact.

From Great Britain to Canada to Australia and New Zealand, new heroes took the honour and dash of the cavalry to the air in flying machines — which would change the face of war forever.


This timely book provides an excellent view of aviation during World War I.

Historical Society of Alberta newsletter (January, 2015)

About the Authors

Norman S. Leach

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014
Norman S. Leach photo

Norman S. Leach

Norman S. Leach is a historian, award-winning freelance writer, professional speaker and adventurer and author of six books on Canadian military history, including Cavalry of the Air, Passchendaele and Hitler’s Stealth Fighter. He lives in Calgary.

John Melbourne

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

John Melbourne

John Melbourne is Honorary Colonel of 410 Tactical Fighter Operational Training Squadron, 4 Wing, Cold Lake, Alberta. Honorary Colonel Melbourne joined the RCAF in 1953 and served for more than a decade in uniform, primarily in Search and Rescue operations. He is a past President of the Royal Canadian Air Force Association.