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I Had a Row With a German (Hardback)

A Battle of Britain Casualty

Aviation Battle of Britain Aviation in WWII Aviation Memoirs

By Gp Capt Thomas Percy Gleave CBE, Introduction by Dilip Sarkar MBE
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 50+ integrated mono images
ISBN: 9781399072731
Published: 30th August 2022

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RRP £20.00

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Thomas Percy Gleave began his RAF career in 1930, three years later becoming a member of the RAF aerobatic team. He joined Bomber Command on 1 January 1939, but at the outbreak of war Gleave requested a return to Fighter Command. He took command of 253 Squadron just in time for the start of the Battle of Britain, acquiring fame for claiming five Messerschmitt Bf 109s in a single day.

Tom Gleave, however, is remembered more for the misfortune which befell him on 31 August 1940. On that day he was shot down and badly burned when his Hurricane caught fire. In his memoir Tom Gleave tells of the early days of his encounters with the German aircraft in dramatic detail and, particularly of that dreadful day when he escaped his dying aircraft with severe burns to much of his body and his face.

After being taken to Orpington Hospital, Gleave was transferred to Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead where he was one of the first pilots to undergo plastic surgery by Archie, later Sir Archibald, Mclndoe and his brilliant colleague, Percy Jayes.

Gleave received leg and facial grafts, and his nose was reconstructed. The Guinea Pig Club was formed at Queen Victoria Hospital on 20 July 1941, with Mclndoe as President and Gleave as Vice-President and a Founder Member, being the club’s first and only Chief Guinea Pig until his death in 1993.

Originally written in 1941, this moving and graphic story is not one of despair but of overcoming adversity with cheerful determination not to allow circumstances of the past to determine the future. For, despite his terrible wounds, Tom Cleave returned to duty, becoming station commander of RAF Northolt and later RAF Manston. Above all, I Had a Row With a German is a ripping yarn of the cut and thrust of the Battle of Britain by one of Churchill’s memorable ‘Few’.

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About Gp Capt Thomas Percy Gleave CBE

Having gained his pilot’s licence in 1928, THOMAS PERCY GLEAVE was commissioned into the RAF in 1930. A gifted pilot, by 1933 he was a member of an RAF aerobatic team. On the outbreak of war in 1939, Gleave requested a transfer back into Fighter Command. Shot down in the Battle of Britain, he became a founding member of the Guinea Pig Club. Having a held a number of staff posts, including serving as Eisenhower’s Head of Air Plans at SHAEF in 1944 and 1945, Gleave was invalided out of the RAF in 1953. He passed away in June 1993.


 Dilip Sarkar MBE

About Dilip Sarkar MBE

Driven by his passion to research and share the stories of casualties and record the human experience of war, DILIP SARKAR is a best-selling author whose work is highly regarded globally. A noted expert on the Battle of Britain period, who enjoyed a long and very personal relationship with the Few, Dilip was made an MBE in 2003 for ‘services to aviation history’, and, in 2006, elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Historical Society. See www.dilipsarkarauthor.com

Perfect Partner

Men of the Battle of Britain A Biographical Directory Of The Few (Paperback)

Since it was first published in 1989, Men of the Battle of Britain has become a standard reference book for academics and researchers interested in the Battle of Britain. Copies are also owned by many with purely an armchair interest in the events of 1940. The book records the service details of the airmen who took part in the Battle of Britain in considerable detail. Where known, postings and their dates are included, as well as promotions, decorations and successes claimed flying against the enemy. There is also much personal detail, often including dates and places of birth, civilian occupations,…

By Kenneth G. Wynn

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