Flight 777 (Hardback)

The Mystery of Leslie Howard

Aviation History Books

By Ian Colvin
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Pages: 232
ISBN: 9781781590164
Published: 21st January 2013
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On 1 June 1943, Flight 777, a Douglas DC-3, en route from Lisbon to Britain, was shot down over the Bay of Biscay by German aircraft. Among the dead was the actor Leslie Howard, who had returned from Hollywood to England to help the British war effort. Also on board was Howard’s tax adviser, Alfred Chenhalls, who smoked cigars and looked remarkably like Winston Churchill. Did the Germans believe that Churchill was on board Flight 777? Other aircraft flying that route went unmolested by the Luftwaffe in spite of the German air presence over the Bay of Biscay. These flights were operated by Dutch crews flying aircraft of KLM which were on charter to BOAC and it was an experienced Dutch crew that was lost that day.

Ian Colvin carried out an exhaustive investigation into the incident, including interviewing former Luftwaffe personnel and this book, first published in 1957, is the result of his endeavours.

It comes across as very authentic. Because the author himself has experienced the war being a journalist and his deep digging search started right after that worldwide conflict, his story comes across reliable and believable.

Go2war2

The mystery of why the Germans shot down his plane has never thoroughly been satisfactorily resolved but all possibilities are thoroughly explored in this excellent book. Its republication, containing new material, is to be welcomed.

Eastern Daily Press

All possibilities – and there are many – are thoroughly explored in this excellent book. Its republication, containing new material, is to be welcomed. 9/10.

Bridlington Free Press

The mystery of why the Germans shot down his plane has never thoroughly been satisfactorily resolved but all possibilities are thoroughly explored in this excellent book. Its republication, containing new material, is to be welcomed.

Sunday Sun (Newcastle)

All possibilities – and there are many – are thoroughly explored in this excellent book. Its republication, containing new material, is to be welcomed.

The Gazette (Blackpool)

All possibilities – and there are many – are thoroughly explored in this excellent book. Its republication, containing new material, is to be welcomed. 4 Stars.

The Post (Liverpool)

The mystery of why the Germans shot down his plane has never thoroughly been satisfactorily resolved but all possibilities are thoroughly explored in this excellent book.

Gazette (Basingstoke)

On June 1, 1943, Flight 777, en route from Lisbon to Britain, was shot down over the Bay of Biscay by German aircraft. Among the dead was Hollywood actor Leslie Howard, who had a Jewish father, and Wilfred Israel, whose family owned Israel’s Department Store in Berlin. Israel had been formulating a plan to rescue Jewish children from Vichy France when he died. Colvin tries to discover the truth behind the flight.

Jewish Telegraph

Leading British film star Leslie Howard, and 16 other people, died in 1943 when their unarmed civil aircraft was shot down by German fighters over the Bay of Biscay. Throughout the war there seems to have been a loose 'gentleman's agreement' with the enemy that they would allow civil flights between England and neutral Portugal. The mystery of why the Germans shot down his plane has never been satisfactorily resolved but all possibilities- and there are many- are thoroughly explored in this excellent book. Written by the late Ian Colvin this republication contains new material.

Norwich Evening News

British film star Leslie Howard, and 16 others, died in 1943 when their unarmed civil aircraft was shot down by German fighters over the Bay of Biscay. Why the Germans shot down his plane- flying from Lisbon to Bristol- has never been resolved but all possibilities are thoroughly explored. Written by the late Ian Colvin, a journalist and author, it first came out in 1957. It's re-publication, containing new material, is to be welcomed.

The Catholic Universe

Originally issued in 1957, Colvin's influential book has been reissued to mark the 70th anniversary of Howard's mysterious death. Already the result of an exhaustive investigation, the book has been expanded with a new introduction and footnotes not available at the time of original publiciation. While Colvin felt that Howard wasn't a deliberate target, various questions have nagged away over the years and the additions go some way to answering them.

Best of British

The incident has been well documented in Ian Colin's book, Flight 777: The Mystery of Leslie Howard first published in 1957

Bristol Post

About Ian Colvin

Ian Colvin was an eminent British journalist who had worked in pre-war Berlin where he made secret contacts with anti-Nazis. Hitler’s regime expelled him from Germany but, in the 1950s, he was able to use some of those contacts to help him investigate the reasons behind the shooting down of Flight 777.

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