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One of Our Own (Hardback)

The Remarkable Story of Battle of Britain Pilot Squadron Leader Victor Ekins MBE DFC

Aviation > Aircraft Aviation > Aviation Biography & Memoirs Aviation > Pilots Aviation > WWII > Battle of Britain Military > Biographies Military > By Century > 20th Century P&S History > British History WWII World History > Europe World History > UK & Ireland

By David Duker
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9781399050678
Published: 11th July 2023
Last Released: 28th November 2023

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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After 111 Squadron was withdrawn from the front line due to its extreme losses, Victor was posted to 501 Squadron.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 in

Scramble 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.
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.

NetGalley, Michael Neill

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 stars

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.

NetGalley, Ron Baumer

About David Duker

DAVID DUKER has held a life-long passion for the generation of people who overcame the huge challenge of the Second World War. From a young age he has been captivated by the many stories of human endeavour, with his particular fascination being on the subject of the Battle of Britain. In 2010, this passion led him to form a close association with the wonderful Kent Battle of Britain museum, and also inspired him to meet, and talk to as many of his heroes as possible. He was fortunate to have forged a close friendship with Flight Lieutenant Bill Green who served with 501 Squadron during the Battle of Britain and considers him to have been one of the most impactful mentors of his life.Today, David works tirelessly to promote the legacy of this remarkable generation and founded the Tally Ho Project CIC – a social enterprise dedicated to sharing the many life-changing lessons that can be found within the story of the Battle of Britain. To support this work, he published his first book Rise to the Challenge in 2021. For more information, please see: www.tallyhoproject.com. The project's patreon page is: www.patreon.com/teamtallyho

Perfect Partner

Battle of Britain Spitfire Ace The Life and Loss of One of The Few, Flight Lieutenant William Henry Nelson DFC (Hardback)

At 11.20 hours on the morning of Friday, 1 November 1940, nine Spitfires from 74 Squadron, the famous ‘Tiger Squadron’, were scrambled from Biggin to carry out an interception patrol I the Dover area. One of the pilots, at the Spitfire Mk.IIa P7312, was the Canadian Flying Officer William Henry Nelson DFC. At around midday, the Tigers encountered a formation of enemy aircraft – Messerschmitt Bf 109s. In the ensuing dogfights, two of the Spitfire pilots were wounded. But for ‘Willie’ Nelson, it was his last combat. Spitfire P7312 failed to return to Biggin Hill, and Nelson, believed to…

By Peter J Usher

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