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A Spitfire Named Connie (Hardback)

Letters from a North Africa Ace – A Tale of Triumph and Tragedy

Aviation

By Air Mshl ‘Black’ Robertson
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 71 images in two plate sections
ISBN: 9781399099035
Published: 30th March 2022

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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.

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About Air Mshl ‘Black’ Robertson

Air Marshal GRAEME ‘BLACK’ ROBERTSON CBE, BA, FRAeS, FRSA was born in Woodford, Essex in 1945. After three years at the RAF College, Cranwell, in 1968 he joined his first operational unit, 8 Squadron, flying Hawker Hunters in Bahrain. He then began a long association with the Phantom that included tours on 6 Squadron, command of both 92 Squadron in Germany (by his own account, the pinnacle of his career) and 23 Squadron in the Falkands. In 1985 he took over RAF Wattisham until he returned to Germany as the Deputy Commander in 1991 and subsequently as Air Officer Commanding No. 2 Group. His final appointment was as Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander-in-Chief RAF Strike Command in 1996. He retired from the RAF in 1998.

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