I first became aware of Robert M. Todd, one of America's World War I fighter aces, in January 1988 when I read his obituary in a local newspaper. As someone with a fascination for World War I aviation, I became curious to know about more him. Thankfully, I chanced upon this book a short time ago.
"SOPWITH CAMEL FIGHTER ACE" was originally published a decade before Todd's death at age 90. In it, Todd shares with the reader excerpts from letters he had written to his family and friends, which detailed some of his experiences during flight training and overseas in Europe. Todd also consulted some of the records from the squadron in which he served at the Front during June to August 1918 (the 17th Aero Squadron) to also provide further details of his military service.
Todd had his "crowded hour" in the 2 months he served in France, flying Sopwith Camels (one of the war's best known aircraft, which by war's end was credited with shooting down 1,294 enemy aircraft) on a variety of missions, from close-support ground attacks against German frontline and rear area installations, bomber escort, and offensive patrols far behind German lines, where Todd and his squadron engaged in frenetic aerial combat with some of the most experienced German Jastas (fighter squadrons). On one of those missions, Todd was brought down behind the lines, spending the rest of the war as a POW in Germany.
The book also details Todd's postwar experiences. All in all, "SOPWITH CAME FIGHTER ACE" is a valuable book for anyone in search of books detailing first-hand experiences from World War I pilots of their combat service.