Best Foot Forward (Hardback)
The Autobiography of the RAF's Other Legless Fighter Pilot
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In the whole of the Second World War, only two men succeeded as operational fighter pilots in the RAF after losing both legs. Douglas Bader was one, and his story is well-known indeed, he has been described as one of the Royal Air Force's most famous pilots. The other was Colin Hodgkinson.
Colin was injured in a flying accident whilst training with the Fleet Air Arm in 1939. He awoke in hospital to find that his right leg had been amputated at the thigh, whilst his left leg was severely injured. His face was also damaged and he had trouble with the sight in one eye. In the weeks that followed, Colin's remaining leg refused to heal. Coolly, calculatingly, he made his decision: Chop the damned thing off and lets be done with it.
Just nineteen at the time, Colin developed a burning determination to prove himself a normal man by becoming a fighter pilot and flying Spitfires. With Douglas Bader as his example, and brilliant surgeons such as Sir Archibald McIndoe treating him, Colin achieved his aim with a hand-tailored pair of tin legs. He proved himself as a fighter pilot many times over, until the war ended, for him at least, as a German prisoner of war.
Although repatriated in 1944 as unfit for further duty, Colin not only continued to fly with the RAF until he left the service in 1946, but also went on to fly jet fighters with the Auxiliary Air Force from 1947 to 1952. His is undoubtedly a story of courage and determination one in which he had learnt to always stride out into the future, putting his best foot forward.
A true biography of a war hero that fought many battles with the enemy in the air and with himself. The book is a hardcover with 223 pages, a nice cover and 16 pages of original black and white photos. Strongly recommended if you want to learn more about how to become a true hero despite many setbacks and even without your legs.Aviation Book Reviews
Read the full review here
As featured inAntiques Diary, September-October 2017
As featured inGoodwood Aero Club Newsletter - Issue 14
As featured inInternational Express 28/6/17
This book is a new edition of the autobiography originally published in 1957. The author was the second legless RAF fighter pilot after Douglas Bader – Strongly Recommended.Firetrench
Read the full review here.
Bader, who scored 22 aerial victories despite having lost both legs, remains a household name. But Flt Lt Hodgkinson’s exploits have been largely forgotten – until now.The Mirror 16/5/17
Immediately after the war, he penned an extraordinary autobiography, which has been republished by historian Mark Hillier as new book Best Foot Forward, 60 years after it was first written.
The remarkable story of a pilot who lost his legs in a horrifying crash then went on to become a celebrated World War Two flying ace has finally been revealed, 20 years after his death.The Mail Online 16/5/17
THE REMARKABLE story of a World War Two pilot who became a Spitfire hero despite having both his legs amputated has come to light.The Sun 16/5/17
Many stories abound of the daring exploits of the RAF’s young fighter pilots defying the might of Hitler’s Luftwaffe, and of the dogged courage of the men of Bomber Command flying night after night over Germany in the face of flak and Focke-Wulfs, yet little has been written about the pilots who provided the key evidence that guided the RAF planners – the aerial photographers. Ken Johnson joined No.1 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit as an eighteen-year-old and soon found himself at the controls of a Spitfire high above enemy territory. The PRU aircraft were stripped of all non-essential…By Kenneth B Johnson
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