One hundred years have passed since the first flight from a warship, an appropriate moment at which to mark the audacity, courage, vision and determination of the men, and more recently women, who have crewed aircraft carriers or flown from their decks. Using her contacts with serving and veteran personnel from several navies, extracts from archived memoirs, official reports and published material, Jean Hood covers the full range of carrier experience. Told by all ranks, from stokers and admirals to air fitters and pilots, the stories range from dramatic accounts of combat, accidents and rescues to humanitarian missions and amusing anecdotes of life on board in war and peace; all put into context by the editor. A famous novelist's diary for Christmas 1914 recalls the first attempt at a bombing raid by naval aircraft; an inter-war staff officer watches in dismay as his admiral is catapulted upside down. The Taranto raid is told through the eyes of the Fleet Air Arm pilots who flew it and the fitter who waited for their return. A radio operator relives the day when vulnerable escort carriers confronted the Japanese Navy at Leyte Gulf, and the opening strikes of the First Gulf War come vividly to life through the words of two pilots and a flight deck co-ordinator aboard USS Saratoga. A stoker tells how he abandoned the sinking HMS Eagle, an Australian pilot looks back on his dramatic rescue after being shot down over Korea and a US bombardier navigator relates the incredible tale of how he survived a partial ejection. An Italian helicopter pilot and his team describe the night-time MEDEVAC of a mother and baby from the ship trafficking them to Europe. With its focus on the human aspects of carrier life and naval aviation, this wide-ranging anthology will appeal to veterans, serving personnel, historians and general readers.