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Bomber Command Pilot: From the Battle of Britain to the Augsburg Raid (Hardback)

The Unique Story of Wing Commander J S Sherwood DSO, DFC*

WWII Aviation Aviation in WWII

By Gerald Sherwood
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 232
Illustrations: 40 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399012492
Published: 11th August 2021


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John Sherwood was commissioned into the RAF as a pilot officer on leaving school in 1936. In mid-1940, he was posted to a frontline bomber squadron. He went on to undertake a full tour of thirty sorties against enemy targets during the summer of 1940, earning himself a Distinguished Flying Cross for his part in what has become known as the ‘Battle of the Barges’.

Sherwood flew Manchesters on a further series of eventful bombing missions against the enemy, earning a Bar to the DFC in recognition of his determination and leadership. It was in the new Lancasters that Sherwood, by then a Squadron Leader, undertook his most daring mission. This was Operation Margin, the attack upon the M.A.N. diesel engine works at Augsburg in Bavaria on 17 April 1942. This involved a flight of some 600 miles in broad daylight with no fighter escort, flying at less than 250 feet in order to avoid enemy radar.

The raid was led by both Sherwood and Squadron Leader John Nettleton. Sherwood was shot down during the raid and was duly posted as missing. Assumed dead for six weeks, he eventually surfaced as a prisoner of war in German hands at Stalag Luft III.

Operation Margin was considered a success and both squadron leaders involved were recommended for the award of the Victoria Cross. Whilst Nettleton’s citation was approved, and the VC duly invested, Sherwood’s was amended by the Air Ministry to state: ‘To be recommended for DSO, if found to be alive.’ The DSO was gazetted on 30 June 1942.

Whilst in captivity, Sherwood witnessed at first-hand the Wooden Horse escape, the infamous Great Escape, and, finally, the Long March across Germany in the last winter of the war in Europe. He was finally repatriated to the UK during Operation Exodus after the fall of the Third Reich in 1945. Written by his son, Bomber Command Pilot provides a fascinating insight into the development of Bomber Command into the powerful strike force that helped turn the tide of victory in the West.

5 stars: What daddy did in the war
Read the full review here

Amazon Customer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic book highlighting the brave wartime exploits of Wing Commander Flap Sherwood. Fascinating insight into Flaps full career detailing operations over Germany in World War Two and eventually being shot down and being held captive in a PoW camp.
A really enjoyable book, a riveting read and anyone interested in air operations, world war two or just a great read should really look at having this book on their bookshelf.
Highly recommended!

NetGalley, Kevin Stabler

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

An amazingly and inspiring story about a WW2 bomber pilot. The action described is gripping and the first hand accounts makes for a great read.

NetGalley, Ron Baumer

About Gerald Sherwood

Born in January 1942, GERALD SHERWOOD was three months old when his father disappeared during a daylight bombing raid over Augsburg. During his educational years, Gerald met relatives who knew about his father’s wartime exploits. They enabled him to build an informative collection of press cuttings, photographs, letters and book which formed the basis of a lifetime’s research around his father's RAF service and family history. Eventually moving to Cornwall, Gerald worked in catering, civil service and retail. Later, following marriage to his wife Hilary, he settled into the insurance industry for twenty years whilst raising a son and a daughter.

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