By Kevin Wilson
A gripping account of the everyday heroism of British bomber crews in 1943 - the year when Bomber Command believed it could win WWII by bombing alone.In 1943 the RAF began a bombing campaign against Germany, the like of which had never before been seen. Over the next twelve months, tens of thousands of aircrews flew across the North Sea to drop their bombs on German cities. They were opposed not only by the full force of the Luftwaffe, but by a nightmare of flak, treacherously icy conditions, and constant mechanical malfunction. Most of these crews never finished their tour of operations but were either shot down and killed, or taken prisoner by an increasingly hostile enemy.This is the story of the everyday heroism of British bomber crews in the days when it was widely believed that the Allies could win the Second World War by bombing alone. Kevin Wilson has interviewed hundreds of former airmen about what their lives were like in 1943: the stomach-churning tension of flying repeatedly over hostile territory, the terror at being shot down or captured, and the peculiar mixture of guilt and pride at unleashing such devastation on Germany.
By Peter Hart
The story of the decimation of the Royal Flying Corps over Arras in 1917As the Allies embarked upon the Battle of Arras, they desperately needed accurate aerial reconnaissance photographs. But by this point the Royal Flying Club were flying obsolete planes. The new German Albatros scouts massively outclassed them in every respect: speed, armament, ability to withstand punishment and manoeuverability. Many of the RFC's pilots were straight out of flying school - as they took to the air they were sitting targets for the experienced German aces. Over the course of 'Bloody April' the RFC suffered casualties of over a third. The average life expectancy of a new subaltern on the front line dropped to just eleven days. And yet they carried on flying, day after day, in the knowledge that, in the eyes of their commanders at least, their own lives meant nothing compared to the photographs they brought back, which could save tens of thousands of soldiers on the ground. In this book Peter Hart tells the story of the air war over Arras, using the voices of the men who were actually there.
By Edward Smithies
Nostalgic and moving stories from the RAF staff who kept Britain's aircraft flying and fighting during the Second World War.When we remember the Second World War in the air, we think of fighter pilots and bomber crews. But what was it like for the men and women working as ground crew and in the aircraft factories who also played a crucial role in defeating Hitler? What was it like making history? What sense did these individuals have of what they were doing, either at the time or later? Did they feel they were caught up in the tide of great events? Or were they simply doing their demanding and often dangerous duty?