A Spitfire Named Connie (Hardback)
Letters from a North Africa Ace – A Tale of Triumph and Tragedy
A Spitfire Named Connie is an exciting, rollercoaster of a story. A prequel to Fighters in the Blood, it tells how ‘Robbie’ Robertson begins his RAF training during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. As he learns his trade, he is soon rubbing shoulders with Fighter Command heroes, amongst them Brian Kingcome, ‘Ginger’ Lacey and Bob Stanford Tuck.
Moving from 111 to 72 Squadron, he opens his account against the Luftwaffe in the spring of 1942. Six months later, as he adds further to his score, the action moves to the skies over North Africa. It is there that tragedy strikes. Wounded and shot down by one of the Luftwaffe’s most celebrated Experten, his Spitfire crashes to the ground.
Found lying near the wreckage by an army patrol, Robbie is moved from casualty clearing stations to hospitals across Tunisia and Algeria as doctors try desperately to save his sight. Finally, unable to stand the pain any longer, he reluctantly agrees to the removal of his right eye. A slow recovery and eventual return to the UK is no compensation for the end of his flying career.
Desk-bound for the remainder of the war, the second and more poignant period of his RAF life begins. The young schoolgirl, Connie Freeman, with whom he has been in regular correspondence since her evacuation, becomes his wife.
It is literally hundreds of Robbie’s letters that form the basis of this powerful, moving and emotional story. Together with his own and Connie’s diaries, correspondence from RAF colleagues and his flying logbook, they bring a unique authenticity to this highly-charged tale.
A Spitfire Named Connie reads like a novel, filled with excitement, pathos and compassion. Yet, incredible as it may seem, almost every word is true.
FEATURE: 'Love that conquered all for Spitfire ace who lost an eye'Daily Express
A delightful read that avoids the pitfalls of a simple chronology of letters by dividing the story into two parts, presenting the interwoven parts in a manner that highlights a sudden change of fortunes plus the accompanying emotions, and supporting the whole with periodic brief explanatory commentary. The author's summing up in the epilogue skillfully draws the reader's attention to the change in mood of the key character, his Father, as matters progress. It also strips away the perpetual instant communication we now take for granted and leaves bare the anxiety of waiting to hear from someone close.Graham Miller
Very well written and presented, and highly recommended.