Reviewed by Donald Lawie
Air travel in this 21st century is an unremarkable, if uncomfortable, means of moving a long distance in a short time. Pilots are regarded as little more than highly trained bus drivers. Exactly 100 years go things were very different; the art of flying was in its infancy and the men who flew the fragile machines were Super Men. One of these was Gordon “Bill” Taylor, whose career spanned the art of flying, almost from the beginning, into the era of aerial international travel as a commonplace. The Man Who Saved Smithy tells the life story of the man who became Sir Gordon Taylor MC, GC. Author Rick Searle has drawn on Bill Taylor’s own prolific writing, augmented by personal interviews with Bill’s family, friends and fellow flyers. The result is a compulsively readable story of the courage, determination and endurance of an ordinary man.