royal flying corps


The War in the air

  • The War in the air

    More than 800 New Zealanders served as air or ground crew in the war between 1914 and 1918, the vast majority of them in Europe. A handful saw action in Gallipoli and the Middle East.

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  • Page 2 – Early military aviation

    Military aviation began with balloons. Powered aircraft were first used for military purposes just before the outbreak of the First World War

  • Page 3 – First World War developments

    The remarkable story of how over four years a new and primitive weapon developed into a key element of warfare.

  • Page 5 – Kiwi stories

    Find out more about some of New Zealand's First World War airmen.


  • Burn, William Wallace Allison

    William Wallace Allison Burn was the first New Zealander to qualify as a military aviator. During the First World War he served in the Middle East, where he became the first New Zealand pilot to be killed in action.

  • Caldwell, Keith Logan

    One of New Zealand's greatest aviators, Keith Caldwell recorded 25 confirmed victories while serving as a pilot in the First World War.

  • Rhodes-Moorhouse, William Barnard

    William Rhodes-Moorhouse, the first airman to receive a Victoria Cross, served as a mechanic and pilot in the early months of the First World War. 

  • McGregor, Malcolm Charles

    Malcolm McGregor, known to colleagues as ‘Mad Mac’, achieved fame as a First World War air ace and later helped to establish civil aviation in New Zealand.

  • Dickson, Euan

    Euan Dickson was one of the most successful Allied bomber pilots of the First World War, flying 175 raids, and shooting down 14 enemy aircraft with the help of his observer.

  • Collett, Clive Franklyn

    Perhaps New Zealand's most qualified and experienced First World War pilots, Clive Collett flew a total of about 1200 hours, many of them on experimental work, on at least 46 different types of aircraft.

  • Rainsford Balcombe-Browne was a Royal Flying Corps pilot in the First World War. He won the Military Cross for his actions on the Somme before being killed in operations in May 1918