Another problem that historians face is the balance between primary sources and the author's narrative of events. Adrian has lent to the former aided by the sheer personality of Stan Dallas that comes through in his log book entries and letters home.
As a consequence the large numbers of primary sources help the book in moving along at a good pace. For example some of the log book entries include;
Ostend Fighting Patrol saw Hun far below and waited for him to come up and settle the argument. He didn't hear me.
Or another on being shelled to distraction;
Accompanied French reconnaissance to Bruges. Had some hot pie on the way back - one of those rare occasions when one wishes the Wright Brothers had never invented aeroplanes. Was rather deaf from the shells, got a few holes in the wings, but chased a Hun over Ostend.
Dallas' log book entries on the Sopwith Triplane are equally fascinating. Dallas' also wrote in his letters with his personality shining through;
I love leading my flight into action - flying today Dad is just like riding together on horseback although you cannot hear the other fellow speak. I have employed my own methods of fighting and I am quite satisfied with them.
But Adrian does not focus solely on Dallas' career and other primary sources, the research is complete on Dallas' life as a youngster and how he made his way to England to join the Royal Naval Air Service.
There is also plenty of discussion on the various aircraft, especially the Sopwith Triplanes he flew. Modellers will be eager to see the photographs of N500 'Brown Bread' and N5436 in the centre of the book.
No in detail discussion of Stan Dallas is complete without looking into his victory score, which can be between thirty and fifty-two depending on the researcher. Adrian goes into this issue in detail comparing log book entries, letters home, combat in the air reports and prior research from other historians.
This is the first book dedicated to Stan Dallas and I learnt more than a few things from it; for one, I won't be referring to him as Rod Dallas any longer.
The book contains wonderful research gems like how Stan got his nickname 'Bregeut' as a young pilot amongst others. But more importantly, Adrian, despite his detailed research, has let Stan's personality come through the book.
The big strapping young lad from Queensland with an eye for fun, art and adventure proved a brilliant aviator and leader. Ranking as one of Australia's greatest aces, if not the greatest.
This book is well worth reading for anyone interested in the details of Stan Dallas' life and career.
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