I've recently come across what appears to be a new biography of Marshal of the Royal Air Force Hugh Montague Trenchard, 1st Viscount Trenchard, 1st and 3rd Chief of the Air Staff, etc: Sylvia Andrew, Lord Trenchard's Choice (Richmond: Mills and Boon, 2002). I say 'appears to be' because there are serious discrepancies with the received historical account of his life, which must call into question the accuracy of the author's research.
"You leave him alone, do you hear?" The voice rang out, high and clear. Ivo winced as the sound sent his head throbbing again, and slowly turned. The next moment headache, heartache, everything was forgotten as he stared into the muzzle of a pistol, which was pointing directly at his head, not ten paces away. It was in the hands of a boy that couldn't be more than eleven or twelve. Ivo shivered as a chill ran down his spine. Guns in the hands of children could be fatal, and this boy looked angry enough to shoot him.
"You scum!" the boy went on without moving. "I suppose you mean to sell Star at Taunton, along with the others you have stolen."
If it didn't rile the mind of Ivo Trenchard, of the 7th Hussars and the most polished man in Europe, to be mistaken for a simple horse thief, finding that the urchin pulling a gun on him was a teenage girl certainly did! Joscelin Morley both dressed and lived her life as a boy in a futile attempt to please her father. Her future was clear: Marriage to her neighbor Peter was to join the two estates and they would settled down to care for the land they both loved. So where did the worldly Ivo, her godmother's nephew and a terrible flirt, fit into the equation?
I admit that I'm assuming that 'Lord Trenchard' here refers to the 1st Viscount Trenchard (the title was created for him), and not to either his son or grandson — though they've both had worthy careers in their own right, and meaning no disrespect to them, neither seems to merit a biography. The 1st Viscount has already had one written about him (I'm reading it at the moment, as it happens) and is probably overdue for another interpretation. But I don't think Lord Trenchard's Choice can be it. I mean, he wasn't called Ivo (unless that's a nickname); he was in the Royal Scots Fusiliers, not the 7th Hussars; and as for 'the most polished man in Europe' and 'a terrible flirt' — well, that's not any Boom Trenchard I've ever read about. That cover art is terrible, it looks nothing like him (and what's with the Jane Austen getup?)
Still, don't judge a book by its cover and all that — I should at least flip through its bibliography and endnotes first. (And Trenchard was in fact born in Taunton, so that reference looks right.) So who knows, perhaps there's room for a feisty cross-dressing pistol-wielding Somerset lass in the Father of the RAF's life.
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