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From Coastal Command to Captivity (ePub)

The Memoir of a Second World War Airman

Aviation Military WWII

By Dr Allan Hunter
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
File Size: 15.4 MB (.epub)
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 32 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781844682225
Published: 13th February 2003


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These war memoirs of Jim Hunter are in two parts. First there is the account of his flying career in RAF Coastal Command, culminating in an extraordinarily brave attack by him and his Beaufighter on the German battle cruiser Scharnhorst. Shot down, he became a POW and the second half tells of his experiences in Stalag Luft 3. A skilled artist he became a camp forger, providing documents for escapees such as Oliver Philpott, one of the Wooden Horse escapers. Jim's own escape tunnel was detected and earned him 30 days in the 'cooler'. He gives graphic descriptions of the forced winter marches which caused great hardship. An added bonus is the translated German report of the Scharnhorst attack.

Excellent introduction by son Dr Allan Hunter sets the scene.

'The style of the book is laid back and informative. It is easy and enjoyable to read and a valuable source for historians and researchers."

Geoff Simpson - Battlefield, Summer 2023

"This a poignant and moving memoir and we must thank Jim’s son Dr Allan Hunter in ensuring the memories of his father survive to tell the harrowing story of his father’s experiences which also speaks for many POW of World War 2."

Martin Willoughby, Chairman of the Wessex Branch of the Western Front Association

This wonderful book should be sub-titled ‘or The Power of Positive Thinking’ and should be read, not just by those with an interest in air-history but, by anyone who has ever thought that life gave them a raw deal.
When a young Coastal Command navigator and his crew, single-handedly, try to sink a pocket-battleship with a mine having the ‘ballistics of a paving stone’ it can only have one outcome. Under the full fire-power of the Scharnhorst and its escorts, their Beaufort torpedo-bomber is quickly brought down and sinks – also like a paving stone. Luckily he is rescued by his adversaries yet this is only the prelude to multiple POW camps, some better, many worse.
Written in his later years and completed with research by his son, this is the story of how to bring a smile to a POW’s survival and as day followed empty day, to illustrate it with his own water-colours which further lighten, what must have been, a most grim and almost interminable four years.
Even when the war is nearly over his experiences are to get still worse as the prisoners, in freezing conditions, are force-marched westwards with little food, no shelter, and confronted by fanatical Hitler Youth waving rifles, yet Jim Hunter can still find an amusing anecdote!
A joyful book by an inspiring writer and artist.

Philip Styles – Archivist, The Shackleton Association

About Dr Allan Hunter

Dr Allan Hunter is the son of Jim Hunter whose experiences are recorded here. Born in the UK and educated at Oxford University, Allan has written numerous published works and articles. He now lives in the USA (Watertown MA)

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