On July 19, 1918, British Sopwith Camels from the new aircraft carrier Furious made an early morning surprise attack on the German naval Zeppelins at Tondern, Germany. Their mission was a tremendous success, practically ending Zeppelin operations and setting the precedent for World War II’s aircraft carrier attacks at Taranto and Pearl Harbor.
Historian/author Narayan Sengupta traces the evolution of aircraft carriers and naval aviation up to 1941 with a primary focus on the Tondern raid. Sengupta, an American of Franco-Indian heritage, has spent seven years researching American military aviation in World War I. He has traveled across France and the United States to visit airfields, air museums and archives after learning that America’s first combat squadrons were based a few hundred yards from his mother’s home in Saints, France. In 2008, he organized the 90th Anniversary Commemoration of the United States Air Force’s first combat operations. He has written four books: "American Eagles - The Illustrated History of American Aviation in World War I”, “POW Stories”, “Disaster at Dieppe” and “Lafayette Escadrille: America's Most Famous Squadron, " all available on www.USAWW1.com.
The "First Sunday Lecture" series is sponsored by the Friends of Smyrna Library.
Speaker Bio: Narayan Sengupta
On July 14, 1918, the Germans shot down and killed Teddy Roosevelt’s youngest son, Quentin, in the skies over France. Until his tragic death, Quentin stayed in the home of Narayan Sengupta’s great-great grandmother. This incredible story and a love of history compelled Narayan to research American World War I aviation. The result is four books about World War II and World War I, articles and photos published in “Over the Front”, the History News Network, the Marietta Daily Journal and elsewhere.
Narayan has had ten veterans on the French side of his family, seven of whom were in combat. One died in action, one was wounded, one was captured, one was an occupier and one was in the Resistance. Two received the Croix de Guerre. On August 27, 1944, his mother’s family was liberated by brave Americans of the US 3rd Armored Division. On the Indian side of his family, both great uncles were noted historians, and one was head of the All India Historical Society. Consequently, he is very passionate about America’s military accomplishments and its veterans.
Narayan speaks several languages, loves to travel and has visited about 20 countries. He was Star Student at North Fulton High School (which was America’s first International Baccalaureate School), majored in History at Emory and earned an MBA from Georgia State. He worked at places like IBM, Coca-Cola, Hewlett Packard, MCI and Alltel before starting NFI (www.nfiweb.com), a website, search engine optimization and database development firm in Atlanta, Georgia.