Aces, Airmen and The Biggin Hill Wing (Hardback)
A Collective Memoir 1941 - 1942
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During the Second World War, RAF Biggin Hill was one of Fighter Command's premier stations. Throughout the Battle of Britain and beyond, it became a hotbed of talent and expertise, home to many of the Command's most notable and successful squadrons. Both on the ground and in the air, Biggin Hill had a formidable reputation and its prowess was very much built on a partnership between air and ground personnel, including squadron members, specialist engineers, armourers and other ground-crew. This fascinating new book from Jon Tan offers a rich account of the years 1941-1942, an incredibly varied and eventful period in Biggin's story.
The author's late grandfather, David Raymond Davies, was assigned to a specialist armourers' team at Biggin Hill and his grandson's narrative serves as a tribute to a particularly fascinating RAF career. Told from Davies' first hand viewpoint and taking a ground-crew member's perspective, no other history has been published that examines day-to-day operations at Biggin Hill in this way.
Drawing on many sources, including original interviews with veterans, the narrative foregrounds Davies' story, using it as the backbone for Tan's broader historical record of the operations of Biggin's Spitfire squadrons. It thus establishes a collective memoir, taking in accounts by such notable pilots as Don Kingaby, Jamie Rankin, Brian Kingcome, Walter 'Johnnie' Johnston, Dickie Milne and Raymond Duke-Woolley, all of whom had close associations with Davies in his capacity as a specialist armourer. Reading the manuscript, Squadron Leader 'Johnnie' Johnston told the author "I read it often; it sits here on the table next to me. It's the closest to how I remember it".
Far from being a dry account of daily operations, this narrative seeks to engage the reader emotionally. Bringing together a considerable amount of evidence and oral history, it tells the story of one twenty-one year old and his comrades, thrown into the howling gale of the Second World War and the intensity of the conflict as experienced by front-line RAF personnel.
With all the books written about fighter pilots in WWII, here is aFiretrench
book that shows there is always room for a new approach that
produces an entertaining and informative perspective on part of
the air war over Europe. Strongly Recommended.
Read the full review here.
As featured in Scramble.Battle of Britain Historical Society
This book covers the inception, growth and employment of Britain's airborne forces (parachute and glider-borne formations) between June 1940 and March 1945. It takes a comparative approach and follows tailored lines of development. Each of these lines - politics and policy, equipment and technology, personnel and training, command and control and concepts and doctrine - influence each other. The contents include: Politics and Policy: The political environment within which the major decisions were made concerning the concept of development of Britain's airborne forces. Churchill's personal contribution,…By John Greenacre
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