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Airmen's Incredible Escapes (Hardback)

Accounts of Survival in the Second World War

WWII Aviation Aviation in WWII Photographic Books

By Bryn Evans
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Pages: 320
Illustrations: 80 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526761729
Published: 6th October 2020

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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The author has gathered together a wealth of unpublished stories from airmen of many nationalities, be they British, Commonwealth or American.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.

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.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

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.

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Armorama

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

Article: Airmen's Incredible Escapes tells of daring WW2 air crews

Telegraph & Argus, 6th December 2020 - words by Emma Clayton

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.

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.

James Oglethorpe, 3 Squadron RAAF Association (Australia)

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.

★★★★★

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UK Historian

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About Bryn Evans

Bryn Evans is a management consultant with many years’ experience of finance and IT at boardroom level. He writes extensively across a wide range of categories, be it business management, travel, military history or fiction and his work has been widely published. His fiction work has earned him Second Prize in the Catherine Cookson Short Story Competition and other awards. He is the author of With the East Surreys in Tunisia, Sicily and Italy 1942-45, The Decisive Campaigns of the Desert Air Force and Air Battle for Burma, all in print with Pen and Sword.


He lives with his wife, Jean, in Sydney, Australia.

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