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Hurricane Squadron Ace (Hardback)

The Story of Battle of Britain Ace, Air Commodore Peter Brothers, CBE, DSO, DFC and Bar

WWII Aviation Battle of Britain World War Two Aviation Spitfires & Hurricanes

By Nick Thomas
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Pages: 258
ISBN: 9781781593110
Published: 27th November 2014

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Air Commodore Peter Malam 'Pete' Brothers CBE, DSO, DFC, and Bar (1917-2008) was one of the most heroic and highly praised pilots of the Second World War. Decorated extensively, he secured a total of 16 'kills' over the course of the conflict, with 10 of these occurring during the Battle of Britain. Pivotal moments in his career include the time, in August 1940, when his flight encountered around a hundred enemy aircraft, including Messerschmitt 110's; he led the flight in attack against them, and soon found himself in a stalled position, out of which he spun, only to be confronted by a Dornier 215, which he shot down, before later destroying a Messerschmitt 109. Scores of these kind of risky manoeuvres and winning victories punctuated a career defined by great courage, leadership and initiative in the face of fierce opposition.

This new and engaging biography profiles a pilot who, until now, hasn't been the subject of such a thorough book-length study. The story of his career is incredibly entertaining, featuring a number of hair-raising episodes, and is sure to appeal to fans of aviation history as well as the more general reader seeking out an action-packed biography offering fresh insights into one of the most pivotal conflicts of the twentieth century.

Hurricane Squadron Ace excels as an operational history of various units and airfields during Brothers’ tenure with them. It, therefore, is less the story of ‘Pete’ Brothers. It highlights the team effort and Brothers’ part as one of its leading lights. That said, the pre-war period is a superb, but all too short, description of flying fighters during this time and the reader develops a real feel for the man but subsequently struggles to maintain this in the largely ‘bigger picture’ of the following years. The connection is brought back somewhat towards the end of the war and Brothers’ fascinating post-war careers and, again, the author’s writing has a lot to do with this. Expect a read that requires effort but look forward to a solid, detailed service biography, with extras, of a great man.

Read the complete review here.

Aircrew Book Review, Andrew Wright

This is an engaging story of one of The Few. It is a complete biography that also covers the subject's experiences flying heavy bombers and V-Bombers after 1945. The subject's career is interesting and varied, which questions why no one has thought of producing a full biography earlier. Aviation enthusiasts will naturally wish to buy copies. Many may buy specifically because it is an account of one of The Few, who become fewer each year and, all too soon, will disappear into history. Highly recommended.

Peter Brothers was in so many ways typical of the young men who developed a keen interest in flying and moved from private piloting to the RAF Volunteer Reserve, or directly into the RAF as a career. During the Battle of Britain The Few were a very small force desperately fighting a much larger German force where they needed to shoot down four Germans for each of their own losses to stand any chance of winning the battle. The level of exhaustion was a considerable pressure as aircraft landed, refuelled and re-armed, to take off once more to fight incredible odds. There were few respites in the beautiful summer weather and pilots could be flying four or more sorties in a day, and for many days in succession. Each day, there were more gaps as comrades fell in battle. How these young pilots met the challenges of a unique air war is in itself an extraordinary story.

There were significant losses during the Battle of Britain, but it did not end there. As the RAF began to go over onto the offensive, pilots who had survived the Battle of Britain were lost on fighter sweeps over France and the Low Countries. Some posted to the Middle East, or Far East, but the losses continued and the Normandy Landings were to see more of The Few become casualties. A number spent a part of the war as prisoners and those that survived to 1945 were not all to continue flying for the RAF. Of those that did continue, and reach senior rank, their later careers were not necessarily as fighter pilots and Peter Brother was to become a heavy bomber pilot, flying Avro Lincolns and then the Vickers Valiant which was the first of the three jet V-Bombers to enter service and play a key role in the Cold War, carrying the British nuclear deterrent. Beyond RAF service many of the survivors lost their connection with flying and forged new careers. Each of them had a fascinating story to tell, but history has been fickle and neglected so many of the Few.

It is therefore all the more welcome when a new book is published to provide a full biography of one of The Few who have previously been neglected. In this case, Peter Brothers enjoyed a long life and long service with a strong moral compass. This is book that entertains, inspires, moves, amuses, surprises – what more could any reader ask for.

FIRE Project

As seen in...

RAF News

There are many combat reports reproduced and details of combat tactics recorded.

Aeromilitaria

The reader is offered fresh insights into one of the most pivotal conflicts of the twentieth century.

Royal Air Force News

A well-researched and fascinating story. Very entertaining.

Aeroplane Monthly

As featured in.

Staffordshire Life Magazine

The story of one of the most heroic fighter aces of the Second World War, Air Commodore Peter Brothers, has been brought to life in this gripping new book. The story of his career is incredibly entertaining, featuring a number of hair-raising episodes and is sure to prove a welcome addition to the library of any discerning enthusiast.

Lancashire Living Magazine.
 Nick Thomas

About Nick Thomas

Nick Thomas is a former archaeologist and finds expert. He currently works as Collections Officer for a local authority, having been manager of the ground-breaking Stafford Castle Visitor Centre and Museum, with which he has a 35 year association. Nick has contributed history articles to a number of archaeological journals and the local press, while finding time to work on many of the ‘digs’ in his home town. In recent years he has co-written the definitive history of his home town and is currently writing a companion volume on Staffordshire.

Perfect Partner

Ben Bennions DFC Battle of Britain Fighter Ace (Hardback)

'Ben' Bennions enlisted in the pre-war RAF in 1929, serving first as an 'erk' before being selected for pilot training. His first posting saw him serving in the Middle- East with 41 Squadron, returning to the UK and Catterick, where the squadron was still stationed at the declaration of war. Patrols and scrambles were common throughout the early months of the conflict, but it was in May 1940, that 41 Squadron first saw the enemy in any number, providing air cover for the retreating BEF. Bennions recorded his first combat victory on 28 July – he was to damage or destroy 20 plus enemy aircraft…

By Nick Thomas

Click here to buy both titles for £44.99
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