One of Our Own (Hardback)
The Remarkable Story of Battle of Britain Pilot Squadron Leader Victor Ekins MBE DFC
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This is the enthralling story of a young man who found himself at the epicentre of one of the biggest turning points in recent history – The Battle of Britain. Guided by the diaries that he meticulously kept throughout his wartime experience and that lay unread for over eighty years, Victor Howard Ekins’ story is one of duty, loss, friendship and love. He would meet his wife Kim, a ‘plotter’ serving at RAF Kenley, during the intensity of the Battle of Britain and their relationship would go on to flourish against all odds. He also rose through the ranks to become a Squadron Leader who was admired and respected by those who served with him.
As an inexperienced Sergeant pilot, Victor was posted to 111 Squadron three weeks into the Battle of Britain. The baptism of fire that he went on to experience would stay with him for a lifetime as his squadron was decimated after relentlessly pursuing the tactic of the head-on attack. He was caught on the ground during the bombing of RAF Croydon on 15 August 1940, and would fight in the skies above RAF Kenley during ‘The Hardest Day’. He would also be one of the airmen tasked with defending London against the first of the huge daylight bombing raids that took place on 7 September 1940.
After 111 Squadron was withdrawn from the front line due to its extreme losses, Victor was posted to 501 Squadron. On 27 September 1940, he was shot down and seriously injured as a bullet passed through his stomach and smashed into the controls of his Hurricane. Miraculously, he would go on to land by parachute in a Canadian field hospital, the staff of which were able to save his life and would return to the action within just 8 weeks.
Victor became part of the brotherhood of 501 Squadron and served on the front line for a gruelling twenty-one months before eventually being given a rest. A promotion to Squadron Leader followed where he was given command of 19 Squadron and placed at the heart of offensive operations over occupied Europe. After a year of intense action, Victor would form an unforgettable bond with his ‘boys’ who would forever hold a special place in his heart.
One of Our Own is a unique insight into the mind and experiences of one of Churchill’s ‘Few’, a natural leader and a good man.
As featured inScramble 1940 - Official Newsletter of the Battle of Britain Historical Society, Autumn/Winter 2023, Issue 168
This. Is a very readable story of Victor Eakins, an RAF pilot and member of “the few”, charting his progress from being a reservist at the start of the war, through training and deployment just before the Battle of Britain commenced. He survived being shot down by bailing out and though seriously wounded was lucky enough to land next to a medical unit which saved his life. He quickly returned to combat and remained flying operational sorties until 1944 when he took control of a training unit. He started the war as a Sergeant Pilot and was demobbed as a Squadron Leader having been awarded a DFC and MBE.NetGalley, Michael Neill
The story is gleaned from the journals Eakins kept during the war so you get a real insight into what life was like for these remarkable young men who faced danger most days and saw many of their friends and colleagues shot down, captured or killed. You get the impression Eakins was a very capable pilot and leader of men, who dealt with his ordeals calmly with little drama. Not the fearless / reckless types who were different types of heroes that shone brightly but quickly met tragedy. His survival of more than 3 years of combat flying was likely more than just being lucky.
I recommend this book to all WW2 aviation enthusiasts or those interested in the human side of wartime survival.
Personal experiences always add color to history. They might suffer from bias, but taken with other sources to balance them out, they create a rich tapestry of personal stories and factual evidence.NetGalley, Spencer Wright
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Ron Baumer
An inspiring story of a pilot in the RAF during WW2. The story follows his rise from a recruit through the war. It was heartbreaking to see the trials he endured and overcame. The book is full of action and excitement. A great story and one to read.
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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