The nimble “Scout Experimental”
Legendary New Zealand fighter pilot Keith “Grid” Caldwell, engaged in more fights, for his time in the air, than any other pilot in WW I. He also commanded one of the most successful fighter units, No 74 ‘Tiger’ Squadron. In this interview excerpt he describes the capabilities of the British fighter biplane, the “Scout Experimental” or formally, Royal Aircraft Factory S.E. 5.
Fighter Aviation Takes Off
In 1916, 2nd Lieutenant Keith Caldwell joined No.75 Squadron of the newly-formed Royal Flying Corps. The squadron went on to have an impressive history as part of the RAF and RNZAF, despite deficiencies in early aircraft design. In this brief interview, Caldwell describes flying BE2 and Sopwith Camel fighter planes. Captain ‘Tiny’ White, another New Zealander in No.75 Squadron recalls the lack of flight instruction available and the sportsman-like ethic between opposing front line forces at the beginning of the war.