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Forgotten Heroes of the Battle of Britain (Hardback)

Aviation > WWII > Battle of Britain WWII

By Dilip Sarkar MBE
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 344
Illustrations: 226 mono integrated
ISBN: 9781399075725
Published: 21st September 2022


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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 these, 544 lost their lives that blood-stained summer, and 700 more would die before the Second World War ended – a victory very likely impossible had The Few not held out in 1940.

The names of some of these young men, aces such as Douglas Bader, ‘Sailor’ Malan and Eric Lock, were well-known to the free world at the time – and certainly the legless Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader remains, even today, the best-known British fighter pilot of the war. However, the vast majority of The Few remained anonymous, owing partially to Air Ministry policy and equally a desire to play down their august achievements. Since the Second World War, the memoirs of a number of the Few have been published, privately and commercially, and books have been written about others.

The record is a rich legacy, overall – and yet, if we investigate the Battle of Britain further, we find many forgotten heroes, no less-deserving of recognition. This book, therefore, seeks to explore the lives and contribution made by certain of these men, to give currency back to their brave deeds. In truth, the list of deserving subjects is virtually endless; those included in this book are individuals whose stories have crossed the author’s path at some stage during his long career – and which he feels are truly ‘Forgotten Heroes’. Clearly, then the list is not definitive, and could never be, but these men at least now have their stories told.

"A fascinating human story of six unsung British heroes. Highly recommended."

Britain at War Magazine - September 2023

4 out of 5

It was both an enjoyable and educational read.

Read the Full Review Here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

As featured in

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

This will have your attention until the end and highlights some great characters I enjoyed learning about.

Read the Full Review Here

The History Fella

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Congratulations to Dilip Sarkar on this wonderful book telling the tales of a few of “The Few” whose names we might not have heard before. It brings out more of the story of incredible bravery and sacrifice which was such a widespread occurrence among this group of young men. With each of the stories you get a better insight into what daily life was like in an operational squadron and the variety of sorties that were flown both in the Battle of Britain and in other stages of the war. As well as portraying the stories of these remarkable men, the author incorporates much of the development of both aircraft and battle tactics throughout WWII certainly widening my understanding of this period.
For anyone with an interest in RAF Fighter Command during WWII this is a book I would strongly recommend.

NetGalley, Michael Neill

This publisher always delivers books and authors who are credible, professional and thorough in their research and analysis. This book is no exception and offers new insights into one of European history’s most famous battles. The author does a terrific job of bringing the people involved to life even as they offer a factual historical account. Well written and very interesting.

NetGalley, Louise Gray

As featured in

The Bookseller
 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

Faces of the Few The Battle for Survival in the Summer of 1940 (Hardback)

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…

By Dilip Sarkar MBE

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