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Faces of the Few (Hardback)

The Battle for Survival in the Summer of 1940

Aviation > WWII > Battle of Britain WWII

By Dilip Sarkar MBE
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 224
Illustrations: Approximately 250 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399065368
Published: 3rd February 2023

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There remains an enduring fascination with the Battle of Britain, and the RAF aircrew who fought and won this unprecedented aerial conflict, immortalised by Churchill in August 1940 as ‘The Few’.

Unlike today, when photography is a huge part of people’s daily lives, not least because of mobile phone cameras and the sharing of images via social media, back then photography involved comparatively primitive and expensive items of equipment and was not, therefore, as accessible as it is today. Furthermore, unofficial photography on service installations in Britain was strictly prohibited for security reasons, and consequently such photographs, often taken surreptitiously, are comparatively rare (although, interestingly, amateur photography was much more popular in Germany, and German servicemen took countless photographs, especially during the Blitzkrieg years).

The author’s personal relationships and friendships with many of The Few, however, enabled him to unlock their personal archives, photograph albums and personal snapshots. The result of this research represents a substantial and unique archive. These photographs are not, in the main, posed official pictures, but those snapped by air and groundcrews who were keen amateur photographers, their images often shared around their squadron mates.

The photographs presented here, some for the first time, provide the reader with a fascinating window on the past, through which we get an authentic glimpse of the summer of 1940 and The Few themselves. Indeed, in some cases, these are the only known images of certain individuals, whilst the likeness of others has been lost to history. That fact, therefore, emphasises the importance of this photographic record.

"A really well put together book...a must for those with an interest in the Battle of Britain!"

Read the full review here

Allied Air Force Research Website

Article "The Forgotten Member of the 'The Few'"

Sir Keith Park, the 'Defender of London', has been formally recognised for his role in the Battle of Britain.

Britain at War Magazine

Article and competition as featured in

RAF News, August 2023

As explained at the beginning of the book, photos in 1940 were not as common as they are now thanks to digital photography and the existence of social media. Portraits taken in studios or by official photographers are the clearest images, others taken on privately owned cameras of the time are not always the best quality, but the capture of the faces of these men who took part in the Battle of Britain is a valuable record. Not just the aircraft this time, but the faces of the men behind this famous period in the history of WW2. A marvellous collection I think.

Read the full review here

Military Model Scene

Featured in

The Armourer - June 2023

Faces of the Few is an essential read for anyone who is interested in the Battle of Britain. The book is a must-have for anyone who wants to learn more about this pivotal moment in history.

Read the Full Review Here

The History Fella

Competition as featured in

The Armourer, May 2023

As featured in

Battle of Britain Historical Society newsletter - Scramble 1940, Spring/Summer 2023, Issue 167
 Dilip Sarkar MBE

About Dilip Sarkar MBE

Dilip Sarkar has now written over sixty well-received books. Having enjoyed a privileged relationship with many of The Few, he is a globally acknowledged expert on the Battle of Britain, currently working on a career-topping eight volume official history for The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust and National Memorial to The Few. Described by the late Dr Gordon Mitchell, son of the Spitfire’s designer RJ Mitchell, as an ‘aviation detective’, Dilip Sarkar did actually begin his professional life as just that – a police detective. His evidence-based approach and ability to discover new material is well-known – in 2023, for example, he was responsible for having Air Chief-Marshal Sir Keith Park, a New Zealander, officially recognised as one of The Few. Made an MBE for ‘services to aviation history’ in 2003, Dilip was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Historical Society in 2006, achieved First Class Honours in Modern History as a mature student in 2010, and in 2024 was made both a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and member of London’s Royal Air Force Club. During his long career, Dilip has exhibited and spoken internationally at such prestigious venues as Oxford University, the RAF Museum, IWM Museum, and Airborne Museum, Oosterbeek; he has worked on many TV documentaries, on and off screen, again internationally, and has an engaging presence on YouTube and Facebook in particular.

Perfect Partner

Forgotten Heroes of the Battle of Britain (Hardback)

Lasting sixteen weeks during the momentous year of 1940, the Battle of Britain ended with the Luftwaffe having failed to achieve the decisive victory that Hitler had demanded. Whilst the technical details of the aircraft and weapons involved are, of course, crucial to our understanding of the events that summer, the Battle was fought by human beings – and it is that human experience and contribution, to this author, is the most important thing to acknowledge, record and share. Nearly 3,000 Fighter Command aircrew fought in the Battle of Britain, immortalised by Churchill as ‘The Few’. Of…

By Dilip Sarkar MBE

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