Medicine: Aircraft and Alcohol

Ever since World War I, the tales of fighting pilots' half-drunkenness in action have been proverbial. In April 1918, Captain A. Roy Brown shot down famed German Ace Baron Manfred von Richthofen. Said he, later describing his victory: "Milk and brandy were my only food [for two weeks]."

Last fortnight the Lancet confidently asserted that British nerves were now strong enough and British planes good enough to make drink unnecessary. "During the war of 1914-1918," said the editor, "heavy drinking became almost a convention among flying men, and this convention...

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