The Crew

The Crew

4.09 (61 ratings by Goodreads)
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A Lancaster bomber required a crew of seven men. Van, the pilot is American, Jock, Flight Engineer a Scot. Piers, the hopeless navigator is a foppish aristocrat - 'Frightfully sorry, Skipper, not absolutely sure where we are'. The bomb aimer is an Aussie. Wireless operator a London cockney who was 'older than God', a mid-upper gunner with terrible eyesight, and the most heartrending of all, the rear gunner, dragged backwards in a fishbowl through the sky, a seventeen-year-old who had lied about his age to get into the air force. They are all appalling at the beginning of the book. The pilot nearly crashes them on the first landing, they don't get on all that well with each other. They all loathe Piers, the toff, and they don't cohere as a team at all. Then, slowly, as they begin their first real gut-dropping bombing raids over Germany they begin to develop as a real crew, depending on each other, becoming more proficient. Charlie's young widowed mum comes to live in a cottage near the airfield in order to be near 'her boy'. Inevitably a romance develops between her and the 'older than God' wireless operator (over thirty!). Other women become involved, love them, lose them. One of the crew is killed at the end...which one? A wonderful emotive, gripping, heart wrenching novel of men, and women, at their best.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 104 x 176 x 30mm | 222.26g
  • Corgi Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0552144924
  • 9780552144926
  • 492,388

Back cover copy

There were seven in the crew - seven very young and very inexperienced airmen who, nearly every night, flew their heavily-laden Lancaster bomber into the exploding skies over enemy Germany.

On almost their first flight Piers, the navigator, managed to get them lost and Van, the pilot, nearly crashed the plane on landing. Charlie, the rear gunner, who was only seventeen but who had lied about his age, spent his time reading poetry and trying not to spew his guts out on every flight. They were from mixed backgrounds and nationalities but somehow, heroically, they welded together into a courageous fighting unit, helping each other and desperately hoping they would survive their thirty bombing raids.

And on the ground were the women who waited. Assistant Section Officer Catherine Herbert, in love with Van but already committed to another man. And Peggy, the little waitress who found herself being ardently wooed by the aristocratic Piers. There was Ruth, the land-girl, falling in love in spite of herself. And Charlie's young and pretty widowed mother, living right on the edge of the airfield, praying every night that her son would come back.
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About Margaret Mayhew

Margaret Mayhew was born in London and her earliest childhood memories were of the London Blitz. She began writing in her mid-thirties and had her first novel published in 1976. She is married to American aviation author, Philip Kaplan, and lives in Gloucestershire. Her novels, Bluebirds, The Crew, The Little Ship, Our Yanks, The Pathfinder and Those In Peril are all published by Corgi Books.
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Rating details

61 ratings
4.09 out of 5 stars
5 39% (24)
4 39% (24)
3 15% (9)
2 5% (3)
1 2% (1)
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