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Where Crimson Poppies Grow

Michael Conway

The story begins at Magdalen College Oxford, 1911. First-year student James Stratton's life was gloriously comprised of lectures, debates, rowing, laughter, girls and learning to fly. England was at her height in naval power and benignly ruled the seas. Then, on a warm summer day in June 1914, the peace was shattered by the royal murder in Sarajevo.

Massive armies mobilized and the world went to war. By 1915, in the sky above the horror of the trenches of the western front, James and his fellow Royal Flying Corps pilots were fighting for their lives against brilliant German fighter squadrons in lightning-fast, three-mile high dogfights in the sky. And by night, in rowdy mess dinners and village taverns, they drank, smoked, sang and tried to forget.

This is the epic story of fighter pilot James Stratton, his aerial victories, his heartbreaks, his women and survival, told against the unfolding panoramic tapestry of the Great War.

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The son of a Second World War Royal Navy Surgeon-Commander, Michael Conway was educated in South Africa and the UK. He learned to fly and qualified as a pilot while at the University of Cape Town. Following graduation with an MA, he worked with the Rio Tinto Mining Group, London. After completing an MBA, he founded his own consulting firm, which he sold on the Stock Exchange sixteen years later after completing a PhD in business. He married Megan in 1975. They have three children and divide their time between Cape Town and London.