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Last of the Few: 18 Battle of Britain Pilots Tell Their Extraordinary Stories

Last of the Few: 18 Battle of Britain Pilots Tell Their Extraordinary Stories

Paperback

By (author) Dilip Sarkar

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  • Publisher: Amberley Publishing
  • Format: Paperback | 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 126mm x 196mm x 20mm | 240g
  • Publication date: 19 July 2011
  • Publication City/Country: Chalford
  • ISBN 10: 1445602822
  • ISBN 13: 9781445602820
  • Edition: 2
  • Edition statement: 2
  • Sales rank: 742,568

Product description

Spitfire and Hurricane fighter pilots recount their experiences of combat during the Battle of Britain. 2,927 aircrew of RAF Fighter Command fought and won the Battle of Britain in 1940, 544 lost their lives in action. They flew to battle in Spitfires and Hurricanes, Defiants and Blenheims, although it is the two former fighter types - single-seaters both - that still inspire and capture our imagination. The legendary legless fighter 'ace' Douglas Bader once said that the Battle of Britain was 'not won by a few aces, but by the average squadron pilot who collectively did their bit.' One of those men, Peter Fox, described himself and his fellows as mere 'also rans' - but clearly, without them, Fighter Command could not have prevailed. Dilip Sarkar the stories of 18 pilots, researched through personal interviews, correspondence and contemporary archive material. Many of the pilots featured became 'aces' in the Battle of Britain, others achieved such status afterwards whilst others went into action only to be instantly blasted out of the sky without even having seen the enemy. Their collective experience, however, is typical of those who flew Spitfires and Hurricanes in 1940.

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Author information

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 FEW: THE STORY OF THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN IN THE WORDS OF THE PILOTS ('Captivating - written by an acknowledged expert on the Battle of Britain' PROFESSOR GARY SHEFFIELD, 'A well-researched, detailed chronicle of the Battle of Britain - written by the men who fought so bravely to repulse the German raiders' HUGH SEBAG-MONTEFIORE), THE SPITFIRE MANUAL ('A must' INTERCOM: THE AIRCREW ASSOCIATION), SPITFIRE! THE EXPERIENCES OF A BATTLE OF BRITAIN FIGHTER PILOT ('A very fine and vivid account' MAX ARTHUR), 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.

Review quote

THE TIMES: 'The Battle of Britain rethought' 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'.

Table of contents

Glossary Introduction 1. Pilot Officer C.F. Currant: 605 Squadron, Hurricane Pilot 2. Flight Lieutenant P.M. Brothers: 32/257 Squadrons, Hurricane Pilot 3. Sergeant R.C. Nutter: 257 Squadron, Hurricane Pilot 4. Sergeant J. Stokoe: 603 Squadron, Spitfire Pilot 5. Pilot Officer G.H.E. Welford: 607 Squadron, Hurricane Pilot 6. Squadron Leader B.J.E. Lane: 19 Squadron, Spitfire Pilot 7. Sergeant B.M. Bush: 504 Squadron, Hurricane Pilot 8. Sergeant G. Stevens: 151/213 Squadrons, Hurricane Pilot 9. Pilot Officer W.L.B. Walker: 616 Squadron, Spitfire Pilot 10. Sergeant T.G. Pickering: 501 Squadron, Hurricane Pilot 11. Flight Sergeant G.C. Unwin: 19 Squadron, Spitfire Pilot 12. Sergeant D.G.S.R. Cox: 19 Squadron, Spitfire Pilot 13. Pilot Officer K.A. Lawrence: 234/603 Squadrons, Spitfire Pilot 14. Pilot Officer R.L. Jones: 64/19 Squadrons, Spitfire Pilot 15. Sergeants D.H. Nichols & P.H. Fox: 56 Squadron, Hurricane Pilots 16. Sergeant K.A. Wilkinson: 616/19 Squadrons, Spitfire Pilot 17. Pilot Officer W. Cunningham: 19 Squadron, Spitfire Pilot Acknowledgements List of Illustrations Index