Summary of Summer Research

Although I do not start my honors thesis until next academic year, I needed to do research in order to gauge the subject I intended to pursue. This summer, I was able to not able to survey the wealth of resources available, but I was also able to reevaluate my initial expectations for the thesis to meet standards that are more realistic. My initial goal was to evaluate the role, if any, of social class in the Royal Flying Corps. Though summer closures and movement of materials prevented me from looking at a bulk of the sources I originally wanted to look at, I was able to compensate by finding more relevant sources in England. I hope that I will be able to return to England to gather more sources.

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Cambridge Goes to War: The Royal Flying Corps at Christ’s College

Although I was unable to view the Rhys Davids papers (the primary collection I had intentions of viewing), I discovered that Christ’s College, the college I stayed at during my study abroad program at Cambridge, held some materials pertaining to the Royal Flying Corps. All the materials were held in Christ’s College’s library as a part of the papers of W.H.D. Rouse. William Rouse was a classicist, a Fellow of Christ’s College and Headmaster of the Perse School, an independent boys’ school, in Cambridge. Matthews was a former pupil of Rouse from the Perse School and, due to context, spent some time at Cambridge before the war started. This is particularly interesting, as not only a lot of Cambridge University students and alumni joined the Royal Flying Corps (contributing to the overwhelming number of upper class officers), but the university also served as an Aeronautics training school for the R.F.C., as did Oxford.

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It’s All in the Details: Social Class and Royal Flying Corps Recruitment Tactics

My visit to the Royal Air Force Museum definitely had a positive influence on my research. Despite researching different elements of the Royal Flying Corps for the past few years, seeing all the artifacts side-by-side in exhibitions caused me to think differently and, in a way, more intensively that ever before. One such new approach to thinking was one I discussed in my last post: postulating what the differences between McCudden’s manuscript and the final published piece. Another topic I thought about after my visit was the Royal Flying Corps different approaches in recruiting potential commissioned officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs). In prior research, I had always seen posters and other recruiting pieces for flying officers and N.C.O.s, but I had never seen them pictured together. In a bold but interesting manner, the RAF Museum displays the different approaches to recruitment side-by-side in the Grahame-White Hangar.

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“For King and Country”: A Look at James McCudden’s Manuscript

“I am now in England training the young idea, but my heart is in France amongst the gallant boys who are daily dying,, and those who are dead, having given themselves to that most wonderful Cause-

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“Man’s Greatest and Most Glorious Triumph”: A Visit to the Royal Air Force Museum London

July 28 to the July 30 was the one free weekend of William and Mary’s Summer Study Abroad Program at Cambridge. The timing was perfect, as the Royal Air Force Museum Reading Room is only open Monday through Friday. So while everyone else was boarding trains and planes to go to their weekend destinations on Friday, I boarded a 7:15 am train to London to head to the Royal Air Force Museum. Although my reading room appointment was not until 1 in the afternoon, I got to the Museum right after it opened so I could give myself plenty of time to look around at all the exhibits.

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