Airmen's Incredible Escapes (Hardback)
Accounts of Survival in the Second World War
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Allied air power made a major, arguably decisive, contribution to victory in The Second World War both in the European and Pacific theatres.
The cost in men and machines was horrific with Bomber Command suffering 50% air crew casualties. While many perished, others shot down over enemy territory or water survived only after overcoming extraordinary danger and hardship. Their experiences often remained untold not just for the duration of the War but for many years.
The author has gathered together a wealth of unpublished stories from airmen of many nationalities, be they British, Commonwealth or American. Some involve avoiding or escaping from capture, others surviving against all the odds, braving extreme elements and defying death from wounds, drowning or starvation.
Importantly the accounts of those who survived the battle in the skies cheating the enemy and the grim reaper give the reader a chilling insight into the fate of the many thousands of brave young men who were not so fortunate.
The result is an inspiring and gripping read which bears testimony to human courage and resilience.
‘In your book With the East Surreys in Tunisia, Sicily and Italy 1942-45, I found your description of the battles for Cassino in Italy the best I have read.’John Ulm (veteran Spitfire pilot of No 145 Squadron RAF in the Italian campaign), whose story is in Chapter 37 of Airmen’s Incredible Escapes.
‘Incredibly moved by Airmen’s Incredible Escapes - Roy Ehrlich Forbes mentioned in Chapter 18 (New Zealand Observer/Navigator) was my grandfather so its nice to see the story, including his part in it, published.’Alexander Hart in NZ (NZ reader)
'Airmen's Incredible Escapes - Accounts of Survival in the Second World War' lives up to its promise with a collection of previously unpublished stories, all of them extraordinary stories by men who defied the odds and lived to tell the tale. They are drawn from first person accounts by British, Commonwealth and American pilots and aircrew, covering fighters and bombers in every theatre through the war.WW2 Today
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What's not to love about a good escape story? The men and women who served our country during the Second World War were thrown into the deep end straight from the off. As Bryn Evans points out, "during air crew training in Bomber Command, the overall casualty rate was a shocking 15 per cent." And that was before the Lutwaffe or the anti-aircraft batteries on the ground got to them.Paul Nixon
The stories in this book are straight out of the Boys' Own books or comics like The Victor that I used to read when I was young. There are 37 escapades in this book, all nicely edited by Bryn Evans and mostly told in the individuals' own words. It is gratifying that having cheated death by a matter of seconds, seventy or eighty odd years ago, many of the people featured here went on to lead long and happy lives.
I suspect that this is a book that will be enjoyed by old fogeys like me, and new generations of fascinated school children - assuming they can be prized off electronic media.
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The book is well researched and indexed with a collection of excellent photographs and maps. The author has used primary sources, interviewing many of the airmen, as well as effectively researching official accounts. It will hold significant appeal for those readers with an interest in military history and military aviation.AVM Treloar of the RAAF for RUSI United Service Journal
Airmen's Incredible Escapes is an anthology of human endeavour, individual resourcefulness and the will to survive in situations of extreme adversity.RAAFA Wings Journal
I felt that not only does the book capture a series of very personal stories, from night over Europe to the heat of North Africa and the jungles of the Far East, it tells us of what our fathers and grandfathers had to endure. Bravery, luck, skill and individual determination against adversity all come into it.Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland
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I would still commend Bryn Evans for bringing them all together in one place, and making a clear well narrated story of the life in the lead up to the events that these crews survived and so rounded off the tale fully.Armorama
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Bryn Evans's book is the meat and the bones of countless stories published each week in my two comics, Lion and Tiger. Inspiraitonal, hugely enjoyable, and still within living memory for some, almost for me too. Superb.Books Monthly
Having now read a few of Bryn Evans' books, I'm happy to say that "Airmen's Incredible Escapes" again demonstrates his great interest in aviation and commitment to original research. In this book, Bryn skilfully merges a rich series of veterans' intimate "first person" adventures with the "big picture" of historical events.James Oglethorpe, 3 Squadron RAAF Association (Australia)
The variety of novel situations and the amazing pathos and bathos of some of the personal stories provide constant surprises. Even readers with extensive knowledge of the Second World War will find much new material in this book. Bryn has collected individual stories from all corners of the Earth and almost every mode of Allied wartime air-operations. Individuals from a wide variety of Western countries are represented. (With a good smattering of Australians.)
The book is structured around 37 self-contained chapters, each following an individual who escaped imminent death. (The text also commemorates their colleagues, who often were not so lucky.) Chapters are arranged in chronological order, so that the flow of history is also evident. There is remarkable contrast between the situations and Bryn moves the narrative along at a good pace. However, the voices of the individual veterans also come through very clearly. Bryn's Prologue and Postscript contain a further dozen quick pen-portraits from his research, adding yet more variety.
Some technical and historical knowledge is assumed, but Bryn's level of explanation is good. There are also Glossaries and Maps for those who need to familiarise themselves with far-flung territories or the jargon of military aviation. Appropriate illustrations are distributed through each of the stories. The standard of proof-reading is also good, making for an entertaining, educational, and in many places, thrilling, read.
This book is a collection of about 30+ stories in various ways about pilots and crews escaping in various ways with the lives. There are some great stories of both bravery in escaping from harsh conditions and escaping in conditions severely personal pain. It really is staggering how many were left invalided, and the amount of men they must have gone through during the course of the war. It wasn’t during actual war or battle there are from memory a couple of training or non-combat conditions where people have faltered or survived. For a good gripping read I can recommend this and well worth reading on a cold night in front of the fire.UK Historian
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