The Few: The Story of the Battle of Britain in the Words of the PilotsHardback
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- Publisher: Amberley Publishing
- Format: Hardback | 314 pages
- Dimensions: 172mm x 250mm x 30mm | 980g
- Publication date: 19 November 2010
- Publication City/Country: Chalford
- ISBN 10: 1848682158
- ISBN 13: 9781848682153
- Sales rank: 784,558
The history of the Battle of Britain in the words of the pilots from a unique archive of first hand accounts. In 1940, the world was shaken when Hitler conquered France and the Low Countries in just six weeks. As Hitler prepared a seaborne invasion of England, only RAF Fighter Command stood against the Nazi dictator, and the world literally held its breath. The Battle of Britain started on 10 July 1940, ending 16 weeks later on 31 October 1940. The Luftwaffe's intention was to destroy Fighter Command, domination of the skies being crucial to Hitler's invasion plan. During that fateful summer, young RAF fighter pilots, flying Spitfires and Hurricanes, were scrambled time and time again to face insuperable odds - and the Luftwaffe was, until that point, unbeaten. The enemy fighter pilots, in their brightly painted Messerschmitt 109s, were the most experienced in the world. But somehow the RAF pilots, fighting desperately in a spider's web of intricate vapour trails, and with sudden and violent death an ever present companion, prevailed. Afterwards, Churchill paid homage to them all: 'Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few'. A legend had been born. Dilip Sarkar has been fascinated by the Battle of Britain since childhood and began seriously researching the subject in the 1970s. He wrote thousands of letters and travelled extensively over the UK interviewing the fabled 'Few'. Over the last 30 years he has interviewed more Battle of Britain survivors than any other author and his archive is a unique collection of veterans 'voices'. In this new book Dilip Sarkar chronicles the Battle of Britain from start to finish, drawing extensively from his interviews with pilots and support staff.
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Fascinated by the Battle of Britain since childhood, Dilip Sarkar remains both moved and inspired by the story of Churchill's fabled Few, those young airmen who stood between freedom and a Britain dominated by Nazi Germany. Since the 1970s he has met and interviewed more Battle of Britain pilots than any other historian. He has researched the subject thoroughly and has published over twenty books, including The Battle of Britain: The Photographic Kaleidoscope ('An excellent book' LADY BADER), Bader's Tangmere Spitfires ('A most diligent and carefully researched account' JOHNNIE JOHNSON, the RAF's top scoring fighter ace in WW2), Fighter Pilot ('This book deserves to achieve success' DAME VERA LYNN). In 2003, Dilip was made an MBE for services to aviation history, and elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Historical Society in 2006. He lives in Worcester.
LADY BADER: 'Over the last 30 years Dilip Sarkar has sought out and interviewed or corresponded with numerous survivors worldwide. Many of these were not famous combatants, but those who formed the unsung backbone of Fighter Command in 1940. Without Dilip's patient recording and collation of their memories, many of these survivors would not have left behind a permanent record of their experiences.' GEORGE 'GRUMPY' UNWIN, Battle of Britain fighter ace: 'Dilip knows more about me and the pilots with whom I flew during the Battle of Britain than we do! If anyone ever needs to know anything about the RAF during the summer of 1940, don't ask the Few, ask him!'. PETER TOWNSEND, Battle of Britain fighter ace: 'Dilip Sarkar understands perfectly the mysteries of air tactics and strategy, enabling him write authoritatively, lively and deeply touching stories of those days when friend and foe met in the air'. HUGH SEBAG MONTEFIORE, author of Dunkirk: 'A well-researched, detailed chronicle of the Battle of Britain - written by the men who fought so bravely to repulse the German raiders'.
Table of contents
Foreword by Lady Bader Author's Note Prologue 1. Opening Shots: 10 July - 12 August 2. Adlerangriff: 13 August - 18 August 3. Target No 11 Group: 19 August - 6 September 4. Nemesis: 7 September - 30 September 5. Survival: 1 October - 31 October Epilogue Acknowledgements Bibliography List of Illustrations Index