; Paul H. Raney
Lieut. Paul H. Raney
Lieut. Paul H. Raney of Toronto and Lieut. Pat O'Brien
from Outwitting The Hun
by Pat O'Brien

via email from S. Hay, 11-1-06
     I have been looking up a few ancestors names on the internet and came across your notes on Paul Hartley Raney, who was a friend of Pat O'Brien in World War I. I'd like mention that my grandfather Norman Raney was one of Paul's older brothers, and we were told often the story of Paul.
      I understand that Paul had just graduated from engineering at the University of Toronto before he joined the RCAF and went right into pilot training. We have his graduation picture.
     His father, my great grandfather William Edgar Raney, was a lawyer, and for a short time was Minister of Justice in the province of Ontario before taking a judicial appointment in the Supreme Court of Ontario. As is likely the case in all of the families who lost a young son in the war they were hit very hard by the event and it was forged into the family psyche.
     Paul would have been about the age that my oldest boy is now who has just graduated from teachers college, unsettling thought.
Anyway regards, and thanks for the posting,
S. Hay.
The Death of Paul H. Raney
extracted from Outwitting The Hun
by Pat O'Brien
     "From my hospital bed as prisoner in Germany, I was musing over the melancholy phase of the scout's life when an orderly told me there was a beautiful battle going on in the air, and he volunteered to help me outside the hospital that I might witness it, and I readily accepted his assistance.
     That afternoon I saw one of the gamest flights I ever expect to witness.
     There were six of our machines against perhaps sixteen Huns. From the type of the British machines, I knew that they might possibly be from my own aerodrome. Two of our machines had been apparently picked out by six of the Huns and were bearing the brunt of the fight. The contest seemed to me to be so unequal that victory for our men was hardly to be thought of, and yet at one time they so completely outmaneuvered the Huns that I thought their superior skill might save the day for them, despite the fact that they were so hopelessly outnumbered. One thing I was sure of; they would never give in.
     Of course it would have been a comparatively simple matter for our men, when they saw how things were going against them, to have turned their noses down, landed behind the German lines, and given themselves up as prisoner, but that is not the way of the R. F. C.
     A battle of this kind seldom lasts many minutes, althought every second seems like an hour to those who participate in it and even onlookers suffer more thrills in the course of the struggle than they would ordinarily experience in a lifetime. It is apparent even to a novice that the loser's fate is death.
     Of course the Germans around the hospital were all watching and rooting for their comrades, but the English, too, had one sympathizer in that group who made no effort to stifle his admiration for the bravery his comrades were displaying.      The end came suddenly. Four machines crashed to earth almost simultaneously. It was an even break--two of theirs and two of ours. The others apparently returned to their respective lines.
     The wound in my mouth was bothering me considerably, but by means of a pencil and paper I requested one of the German officers to find out for me who the English officers were who had been shot down.
     A little later he returned and handed me a photograph taken from the body of one of the victims. It was a picture of Paul Ranehy, of Toronto, and myself, taken together! Poor Raney! He was the best friend I had and one of the best and gamest men who ever fought in France!."

     When I searched for "Paul H. Raney", using the Google search engine, (10-5-05), I found two important links. Today, 7-23-09, I found 13,800 links, mostly irrelevant!! Adding the qualified "+aviation," there remains four relevant links, including this site.

Paul Hartley Raney
     This page, on the Wikipedia website, which was suggested to me by Fraser Hay, offers a very comprehensive review of his life and career You can access the site by clicking on the title above.

2/Lt Patrick Alva O'Brien M.C.
     This page, which is primarily devoted to the story of Pat O'Brien, does offer several important mentions of Paul Raney. The original website has disappeared from the net, but I was able to retrieve an archived copy by the use of the www.waybackmachine.org. program. You can access the copy by clicking on the title above.

My escape from a German prison camp
by Lt. Pat O'Brien
Product Details
Hardcover: 284 pages
Publisher: New York and London, Harper & Brothers, January 1918
Price, Used: $10.00 - $37.00
ISBN: 0742663167
     A brief description of the book may be found on the Wolf's Head Books website as follows:
"O'Brien, Pat Alva Outwitting the Hun: My Escape from a German Prison Camp NY Harper and Brothers [1918] 1st ed 284 pp. PRESENTATION COPY; Noffsinger 2070; autobiography of an American in the RFC; most of the book is about his 3 weeks as a POW and his escape; from the Noffsinger collection VG. eps foxing, edgewr, rubbed, some soil
Price: USD 35.00 other currencies order no. BOOKS023486I"

     You will find an extended description of Paul Raney written in the words of his very good friend, Pat O'Brien.

Paul H Raney was killed in action on 21 August 1917.
from Outwitting The Hun

Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this Early Flier,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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