Who had the most dangerous job on the western front?

With new pilots lasting on average just 11 days from their arrival on the front to their deaths, it’s arguably the members of Britain’s Royal Flying Corps.


This precursor to the Royal Air Force had been engaged in a battle royale with their German counterparts since the start of the war. Yet, by the end of 1916 – with the Germans temporarily enjoying technical supremacy and the deadliest of German pilots, the Red Baron, in his pomp – the British were suffering terrible casualties in the air.


Many pilots were sent into battle with virtually no training, and so were easy meat for the enemy – so much so that the average RFC pilot’s life expectancy in the air at one point dropped to just 18 minutes.


The RFC was dubbed ‘the Suicide Club’ – and with 14,000 British pilots losing their lives during the war, this wasn’t far from the truth.