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                      THE MILITARY CA-II?  
                             
                rash pilots.   But their rashness consisted in playing tricks in the air which to-day would appear harmless enough, compared with the every-day acrobatics of service pilots during the War.
    CHAPTER XVI.      
               
  AVIATION-THE MILITARY CAMP-MEMORIALS TO THE FALLEN.    
                The Pashley School was going well and looked like becoming a success, when war broke )ut and the R.F.C. took possession of the Aerodrome and all thereon. The two brothers left Shoreham and eventually Cecil became senior instructor of the GrahameWhite School.   Eric went to Vickers' School at Joyce Green, where he became an exceedingly clever pilot of Vickers' gunmachines.   In 1916 he was given a commission in the R.F.C.
THE first " flying machine " to arrive in the town attracted a great deal of attention. It was in quite the early days of the science of aviation, and attempts to fly excited the keenest interest.  
To Mr. H. H. Piffard, an old Lancing College Boy, belongs the honour of being the first to experiment, in the spring of 1910, with an aeroplane at the Shoreham Aerodrome.  
  and soon turned out to be a first-class pilot.   He was killed in action in France on Saturday, March 17th, 1917.   During the comparatively short time he was in the R.F.C. he accounted for ten enemy machines and on two occasions rescued photographic machines from superior enemy attacks.
It is a study in evolution to compare the splendid flights and the high altitude reached by the machines of to-day, with the modest achievements of the first " flying machine " at Shoreham.  
This was a somewhat timid creature, and was at first familiarly known as the "Mayfly," probably from the fact that she seemed to prefer the safety of terra-firma rather than the uncertainty of an almost un-tried element. If the machine succeeded in " jumping " a. brook it was looked upon as a wonderful performance.   If such an astonishing feat as a rise of thirty feet into the air was accomplished in safety the excitement was intense and the onlookers waited with bated breath until the machine again alighted without mishap.   But the " flying " of those days seemed to consist for the most part of " hopping " round the Aerodrome, and hence she was sometimes known as the " Grasshopper."  
  Several distressing and fatal accidents connected with aviation at Shoreham, before and during the War, are painfully fresh in the minds of most of us. In Old Shoreham Churchyard are the graves of gallant and fearless young men, who came from overseas to fight Old England's battle.
  The Military Camp requires only a brief notice in these pages. Anything like a detailed account of all that happened during the period of its existence would fill many volumes, and although those years must ever be numbered as the most remarkable that the town has seen, we must confine ourselves to a few reminiscences.
  During the second week of September, 1914, it was rumoured that a camp would be formed on Slonk Hill, but it was imagined that such would be similar to the Volunteer camps of previous years. Thus it was that the town was only very mildly interested in the few tents that were already pitched as the week-end approached.   The War had only just begun and few people dreamed that it was to last a matter of years.
But rapid advances were made in the science and we have lived to witness such feats as looping-the-loop, diving, and other tricks and wonders too numerous to mention in detail.  
On the 6th March, 1911, Mr. O. C. Morrison made a flight from Hove Lawns to Shoreham in seven minutes, and subsequently circled round Lancing College.  
In June of the same ,year, when the " Flight across Europe " from Paris to London via Brussels took place, the competitors called at Shoreham.   The startling developments which took place the next day threw all such calculations to the winds ; the camp was not to be the small affair of former peaceful years.
The brothers Eric and Cecil Pashley must be reckoned among the pioneers of British Aviation. When Shoreham Aerodrome came definitely into being they set up a school of their own, where they taught several people, who turned out, ultimately, to be good pilots. They built a bi-plane of their own on the general lines of a Farman, and with it they became excellent, if somewhat   Who can forget that Saturday afternoon, when a train steamed into Shoreham bearing some hundreds of men-part of that great army which will ever be known as Kitchener's Boys.   Train after train followed till far into the evening.   In drenching rain thousands of men marched by way of Buckingham Road to the camp-a camp in name only, for there, all was in a state of chaos.
                             
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Copyright © Martin Snow 2002 All rights reserved
Revised 27 February 2002