Collections & Recollections of Farnborough & R.F.C. 1915
World War One: BRIGHT, R.G.T (Compiler)
Category: First World War
Farnborough No Publisher. 1915.
Album; small folio; original half cloth. An archive of letters often accompanied with drawings sent to The Royal Flying Corps at Farnborough between November 1914 and February 1915, from soldiers and civilians (male and female) wishing to join the R.F.C., as well as cunning inventions for new weapons. c.100 documents in total.
"Dear Sir, I am unjustly detained here as mentally unstable & the police do not interfere. Can you make use of your military authority to send me an escort of 2 armed soldiers, with greatcoat and hat for myself, as I would willingly join the RFC. I was in the O.T.C of Edinburgh University. All expenses will be paid."
"I shall shortly be offering my services for the RFC but before I decide definitely I should be glad if you would inform me if I would pass the medical: - as my Doctor says he do not think I would. I am 20 years of age and under Doctors care for ....a strained wrist.....I have to wear a body belt over the stomach owing to a strain and an Attack of Appendicitis - a short while back. I have only 12 sound teeth. I guarantee All the statements to be true."
"I would ... be glad to hear particulars of commissions, if able to purchase same & figure at which they sell."
Ideas for weapons include a drum of fine string from which could be suspended a bomb, bombs filled with cayenne pepper to 'cause a momentary lull in firing' and fixing 'sharp knives' beneath the wheels of aircraft in order to puncture Zeppelin's gas tanks.
Lt. Col. R. G. T. Bright of the Rifle Brigade was part of Macdonald's 1898 expedition from Uganda to Abyssinia and joined the British Section of the Uganda-Congo Boundary Commission in the Western Frontier districts of the Uganda Protectorate in 1907 and 1908. He was awarded the CMG and the Star of Zanzibar. His health was never very good after his time in Africa and so he was given a desk job during the First World War - hence this collection of letters and inventions. In 2005 Frederic A. Sharf wrote a book using Brights's diary - Expedition from Uganda to Abyssinia 1898; The Diary of Lt. R. G. T. Bright.
A fascinating and in many ways a moving collection.