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Fresh from school in June 1916, Lieutenant Oliver Paxton’s first solo flight is to lead a formation of biplanes across the Channel to join Hornet Squadron in France.

Five days later, he crash-lands at his destination, having lost his map, his ballast and every single plane in his charge. To his C.O. he’s an idiot, to everyone else – especially the tormenting Australian who shares his billet – a pompous bastard.

This is 1916, the year of the Somme, giving Paxton precious little time to grow from innocent to veteran.