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Flying Sickness - D

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Ian Mackersey View Drop Down
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    Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 02:53

For a book I have been commissioned by my London publisher to write about the lives of the RFC and RNAS aviators of WWI I am seeking information about the incidence of 'flying sickness D' (for debility) today betther known as post-traumatic stress disorder. There is an extensive literature on the army version - then labelled 'shell-shock' - but little published work seems to exist on the huge volume of the psychological disorders of the pilots and observers. I would welcome being put in touch with either books or articles on the subject (either by lay writers or aviation psychiatrists) or with anyone who may have made a study of it.

Ian Mackersey

Auckland  NZ

imp@ihug.co.nz

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NickForder View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickForder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 09:33
Ian
Interesting that you should be looking at this aspect. Only last week I listened to a retired Colonel complaining about the RAF during the first Gulf War, who had raised issues about psychological problems arising from leaving 5 Star hotels for strike missions over Kuwait  while he had been in a foxhole carefully monitoring his water bottle level (nothing much changes, does it ?).
 
WWI-L@LISTSERV.KSU.EDU tends to have postings on it from people with a medical background.
 
I have :
Fringe of the Clouds : The Story of an RAF Doctor, Livingston, P
 
and a history of aviation medicine, that I can't seem to put my hand on. It will be around here somewhere !
 
I seem to recall that there was a C&CI Logbook/Recce (probably the former, as I think it was during Fergus Read's editorship) that looked at this. I think it was a reprint of an article looking at the physical & psychological aspects of what makes a good pilot and, I think, that it had been published inthe Journal previously to that.
 
PFC Fullard, 1 Squadron, was a sufferer, and his papers are with the Liddle Archive at Leeds University. Mike O'Connor wrote an article for Fullard in the Journal. 
Nick 
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Ian Mackersey View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ian Mackersey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 12:06
Nick:  Many thanks for these helpful leads.  Is 'Fringe of the Clouds' from a WWI doctor? As a newbie to C&CI journal how do I trace the Logbook/Recce and Mike O'Connor articles? Is there an index somewhere? Fullard certainly sounds interesting. I'm in touch with the Liddle Archive and will follow up this 1 Squadron sufferer. Will also tap into the medical site.
Ian
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NickForder View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickForder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 13:41
Ian,
I think that the Livingston book covers the period from 1918. There was an issue about the RAF medical services initially, in that it was thought unnecessary to create a separate service in April 1918 as the Army & Navy already had their own and secondments could be, and were, used. Hence there are no medical other ranks listed on ther 1 April 1918 RAF Muster Roll !
 
All RFC medical records will be with Army respositories, and all RNAS with the Navy. I would try the RAMC Museum at Aldershot as a first point of call.
 
C&CI now prints indexes fro the Journal. An electronic copy was available on disk, but seems to have disappeared from the online shop. Perhaps Andy can offer you guidance on this ? Worse case is I can send you a copy in a suitable format.
 
I'll have a search through other stuff for you, but there will be a delay of a few days as I'm at Lea Marshes putting a Triplane together (and then taking it apart) over this weekend.
Nick    
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Ian Mackersey View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ian Mackersey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 21:31
Nick,
This is all very helpful. Am about to follow up your suggestions. Will let you know outcome.
Ian
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NickForder View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickForder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jul 2009 at 10:14
Into Thin Air : A History of Aviation Medicine, by TM Gibson & MH Harrison, Robert Hale, London, 1984, ISBN 07090 1290X,  contains a reasonable overview of the subject.
 
There is a chapter on flying stress, but this is mostly referenced to WW2.
 
Its bibliograpghy contains :
 
Anderson, HG, 'The Medical and Surgical Aspects of Aviation' (OUP 1919) which, supposedly, the first book on the subject.
 
Lucas, J, 'The Big Umbrella' (Hamish Hamilton, London, 1973) re the history of the parachute.
 
The Livingston book (Fringe of the Clouds) is mostly of value relating to vision research in WW2. Livingston was commissioned int he RAF as a Doctor in May 1919, having previously served with the RNVR.
 
According to Wendy Holden in 'Shell Shcok : The Psychological Impact of War' (Channel 4 Books, 1998, 075222199X) JL Birley was put in charge of investigating 'flying fatigue'. Treatment consisted of rest and recuperation. "One study found that 10% of 100 pilots had developed the psychological disorder and urged that sufferers should be discharged from the air station as unfit for flying before the condition 'infected' any other airmen and 'marred' the squadron". (P57)
 
'The Lancet' may be worth looking at, too.
Nick
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Errol Martyn View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Errol Martyn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jul 2009 at 11:20
Ian,
 
Also worth a look are:
 
The Dangerous Sky - a history of aviation medicine, by Douglas H. Robinson, pub by Foulis, 1973
(Pages 72-107 form a chapter covering WWI)
 
The First of the Few - fighter pilots of the First World War, by Denis Winter, pub by Allen Lane, 1982
(Pages 144-152 form a chapter titled 'The dark side - physical strain')
 
Errol
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Ian Mackersey View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ian Mackersey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jul 2009 at 00:14

Very helpful Errol. Had seen these books but wasn't aware of their relevance. Am getting copies. Many thanks.

Ian

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Ian Mackersey View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ian Mackersey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jul 2009 at 00:24

Thanks for this further helpfulness Nick.   J L Birley was a specialist on WWI psychological disorders and lectured on it. Have found some of these in 1920 issues of  'The 'Lancet'. Will chase up the Wendy Holden Channel 4 book.  Most grateful.

Ian

 

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickForder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jul 2009 at 08:29
Ian,
The Wendy Holden book has only a single page on flying, which I can copy & send to you if you let me have a postal address.
 
I'm fairly sure that the Douglas Robinson book is somewhat US-orientated. I think that there is a copy in the library here and, if time allows today, I'll have a look at it and report back !
Nick
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