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Airmen Behind the Medals (Kindle)

WWII Aviation World War Two Aviation

By Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
File Size: 108.3 MB (.mobi)
Pages: 233
ISBN: 9781473874275
Published: 10th August 2015

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£11.99 RRP £19.99

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National Publicity

‘Best Military Reading for 2015’! - nominated & reviewed by Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford - The Times and Sunday Times

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Of the many human characteristics, few evoke greater admiration and respect than gallantry in the service of one's country. Here, Graham Pitchfork describes the outstanding bravery of twenty-one air men who served in the Royal Air Force and the Fleet Air Arm during the Second World War. These accounts encompass most theaters of operation as well as a host of aircraft types and aircrew categories. Accounts of the gallantry of those who served on the ground in support of flying operations are also relayed in this substantial anthology.

The book explores the gallantry of airmen who fought in a variety of contexts, including that band of men who are so often forgotten, the Burma veterans. A gallant RAF sergeant and an RAF doctor who cared for and inspired fellow prisoners in Japanese camps are both included here, as are stories relating the extreme bravery of a Fleet Air Arm pilot, a Pathfinder pilot and a Typhoon wing leader.

The valorous acts of these airmen serve as inspirational examples to a new generation of flying men and women. Graham Pitchfork extracts the drama and poignancy of their tales, enlivening them to great effect in this riveting publication that is sure to appeal broadly to enthusiasts of the era.

The book is made of glossy paper and that certainly enhances the black and white pictures. There are colour pictures of the medals but also beautiful black and white ones. What appealed to me is that it told about very different people and their experiences. All short but powerfully displayed by the author. Timeless stories about beautiful people! Might a fourth part show up? Hope so!

Aviation Book Reviews

Graham Pitchfork is a prolific author and happens to be a retired air force officer of vast experience and he brings all this to the books he writes. His no-nonsense writing style is very appealing and you can rest assured that attention to detail and empathy with his chosen subject matter is all there. This latest book is a series of pen portraits of airmen who were awarded medals for their gallantry in a range of circumstances during the Second World War...

... Mr Pitchfork introduces us to twenty-one airmen who are all pretty special and he does a good thing by not confining himself to aircrew or a particular strand of the conflict. He brings to light people of various ranks and roles including a doctor and an RAF Regiment NCO and treats them all with equality and respect.

We get the usual mix of pilots and aircrew doing immensely brave things but we also see people who just got on with it over periods of time and who showed consistent valour and fortitude. These are people to admire.

There is a useful chapter on the medals available to airmen and although the author avoids the Victoria Cross (a good thing in my opinion) we are introduced to some very brave individuals who deserved the recognition they received. Some should probably have earned a bit more.

The photographs include images of the men recorded here along with a series of colour shots showing their medal bars. I don’t collect medals and would never start but seeing them all like this is very impressive and not a little stirring. Medals are nice, but the people matter more and Mr Pitchfork has done a really good job here. This isn’t an exciting book with overblown tabloid newspaper style writing, it is solid history well told. I never have any difficulty recommending books like this. They tick all the boxes and keep something of the people they feature alive and I really like that aspect.

War History Online - Mark Barnes

‘The third in the series by Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork, Airmen Behind the Medals, explores the extraordinary courage and dedication of 21 airmen who either flew or supported Second World War flying operations. Pitchfork has chosen accounts that highlight the breadth of operations in which British and Commonwealth airmen were involved, including those in Europe, Chindit air-drops, air-sea rescue, the Desert Air Force, and an RAF doctor’s bravery in Japanese PoW camps. These were ordinary men who rose to overcome extraordinary challenges. Pitchfork’s examination of their gallantry conveys superbly a spirit and ethos that both inspires and endures in the RAF today

The Times

'A new book about the outstanding bravery of twenty-one men who served in the RAF and the Fleet Air Arm in World War Two.'

The Whitehaven News

Fascinating.... Graham [Pitchfork, the author] brings the stories to life in vivid detail.

Flypast Magazine

As seen in...

RAF News
 Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork

About Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork

Graham Pitchfork spent thirty-six years in the RAF as a navigator and commanded a Buccaneer squadron, was Director of Air Warfare and, before retiring in 1995 as an air commodore, was a Director of Military Intelligence at the Ministry of Defence. He is an established air historian and has written ten books including The Buccaneers, Shot Down and on the Run and The Royal Air Force Day by Day. He is a regular contributor to Flypast and is the aviation obituarist for the Daily Telegraph. In 2012 he received the Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators Award for Aviation Journalism and the Air Power Association awarded him the prestigious C.P. Robertson Trophy for the best written interpretation of the Royal Air Force for the public.

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In this riveting critique of the Fleet Air Arm's policy across two world wars, former FAA Fighter Pilot Henry Adlam charts the course of its history from 1912 to 1945, logging the various milestones, mistakes and successes that characterised the service history of the Fleet Air Arm. Offering criticism on the service hierarchies that made up the Fleet, backed up by his having served in six Carriers and flown from them in all five theatres of sea warfare during five years of the Second World War, Adlam presents a highly entertaining and potentially controversial study which is sure to appeal to…

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