Flying over Gallipoli with the RNAS
Most New Zealanders who flew as pilots in World War I went to Britain and joined the Royal Flying Corps. However, Phillip Kenning Fowler from Feilding, took a different path. Making his own way to England in 1916, he joined the Royal Navy and trained to become a pilot in the Royal Naval Air Service. This air-borne division operated under the Admiralty from 1914 to April 1918 when it merged with the R.F.C. and formed the Royal Air Force, or R.A.F.
Fowler was based initially in the Aegean Sea and eastern Mediterranean. Later in the war, he was one of the pilots tasked with trying to bring down German Zeppelin airships over the English Channel, before they could bomb British cities.
In this radio interview recorded in the 1960s, he recalls burning crops destined for Germany and early aerial bombing techniques. which amounted to simply dropping explosives over the side of the plane.