• First Light

    First Light (Hardback) By (author) Geoffrey Wellum


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  • Full bibliographic data for First Light

    First Light
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Geoffrey Wellum
    Physical properties
    Format: Hardback
    Number of pages: 507
    ISBN 13: 9780750519533
    ISBN 10: 0750519533

    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T4.2
    BIC subject category V2: BG, HBWQ
    BIC E4L: WAR
    BIC subject category V2: HBJD
    BIC geographical qualifier V2: 1DB
    LC classification: D786
    LC subject heading: ,
    BIC subject category V2: JWG
    LC subject heading:
    BISAC V2.8: HIS027140, HIS027100, HIS010000, BIO000000
    LC subject heading:
    DC21: 940.544941092
    BISAC V2.8: HIS027000
    Large type / large print
    Edition statement
    Large Print edition
    Magna Large Print Books
    Imprint name
    Magna Large Print Books
    Publication date
    15 March 2003
    Publication City/Country
    Long Preston
    Review text
    Early in the spring of 1939, Geoffrey Wellum applied to join the RAF. He was a sixth-former at a boarding school in the home counties, oddly unaware that war was only a few months away, and as keen as mustard to fly fighter planes. This book is his diary, the record of a teenager hastily trained and then hurled into the most devastating war in the air that the world has ever seen. Flying school is quickly dealt with, and early in 1940 the 18-year-old finds himself posted to a squadron on active service. Once he wins his coveted 'wings' he becomes part of a peripatetic outfit, 92 Squadron, and soon the squadron is in the thick of things. Wellum's enthralling memoir appears to be stitched together from notes written in the dispersal hut while edgily waiting for the order to 'scramble' and take off in a Spitfire after marauding enemy bombers and their vicious fighter support. You never, he wrote at the age of 19 (and a virgin), lose the feeling of fear, but you do become reconciled to it. 'Ops' could happen up to three times a day, and the stress on the young men was terrible, increased by the regular flow of pilots who failed to make it back to base. Once the Battle of Britain was won (and hard won, at that), Wellum went on to escort bombing squadrons into mainland Europe, with more narrow escapes that are deeply harrowing to read. When, as an old hand, he was retired from front-line service as a Flight Commander, he was just 20 years old. This is a wonderful and moving memoir: 'I feel so grateful for being one of this band of fighter pilots in this hour of our country's history,' he writes. And so should we. (Kirkus UK)