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Spitfire Ace of Aces: The Album (Hardback)

The Photographs of Johnnie Johnson

WWII Aviation Aviation in WWII Spitfires & Hurricanes Photographic Books Colour Books

By Dilip Sarkar MBE
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 300 colour images
ISBN: 9781526791665
Published: 2nd July 2021



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Air Vice-Marshal James Edgar ‘Johnnie’ Johnson CB, CBE, DSO & Two Bars, DFC & Bar, DL was a character literally from the pages of Boys’ Own: an individual who became the RAF’s top-scoring fighter pilot of the Second World War. A one-time household name synonymous with the superlative Spitfire, Johnnie’s aerial combat successes inspired schoolboys for generations.

As a ‘lowly Pilot Officer’, Johnnie Johnson learned his fighter pilot’s craft as a protégé of the legless Tangmere Wing Leader, Douglas Bader. After Bader was brought down over France and captured on 9 August 1941, Johnnie remained a member of 616 (South Yorkshire) Squadron, in which he became a flight commander and was awarded the DFC a month after Bader’s devastating loss.

In time, Johnnie came to command a Canadian wing in 1943, when the Spitfire Mk.IX at last outclassed the Fw 190, and participated in some of the most important battles of the defeat of Nazi Germany, including Operation Overlord and the D-Day landings in 1944, Operation Market Garden and the airborne assault at Arnhem, and the Rhine Crossings, throughout all of which Johnnie also commanded Canadian wings.

Johnnie’s remarkable career is revealed through this unparalleled collection of archive photographs, the majority of which are drawn from his own personal album or from other members of the Johnson family. Many have not been published before. Between them, they present a fascinating insight into the man himself, the machines he flew, and the men he served alongside.

I wonder how often you have read a book about a particular figure from WW2 history, books which usually have one or two small sections of appropriate photos, but thought there were never 'enough'? I know I've thought that before so am really impressed by this idea of releasing a follow-up title with a large collection of archive images that illustrate his life. An excellent addition to the author's other books on Johnnie Johnson.

Read the full review here

Military Model Scene

As Featured In

Scramble 1940, Spring/Summer 2022

Air Vice Marshal James Edgar ‘Johnnie’ Johnson was the highest scoring ace of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. His tally of 34 confirmed victories, seven shared victories, three shared probables, ten damaged, three shared damaged, and one destroyed on the ground is truly impressive and helped inspire many young men and boys to want to become RAF fighter pilots both during and after World War Two. Dilip Sarkar a renowned Battle of Britain and RAF historian has followed up his earlier book entitled Johnnie Johnson’s 1942 Diary with this photographic compendium on Johnson’s life to include his service after the war and his later life until his death in 2001.
This book is filled with hundreds of photographs some never seen before and enriched by the diligent research epitomised by Sarkar’s usual attention to detail. It begins with pictures from his flying training and his progression onto a fighter squadron under the expert tutelage of Douglas Bader. He later became a flight commander on 616 (South Yorkshire) Sqn and was awarded a DFC soon after Bader went down and became a prisoner of war. He later commanded 610 Sqn and 127 Wing RCAF otherwise known as the Kenley Wing. Johnson missed the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain due to recovering from an injury but he soon made up for it and was involved in many famous battles and campaigns such as Dieppe, Normandy, Operation Market Garden, and the Battle of the Bulge. What strikes this reviewer the most is the majority of photographs are of the people around Johnson. Yes there are many Spitfire pictures but they are massively outnumbered by the many images of other pilots, ground crew, visiting dignitaries, family and many others. There are a plethora of pictures of Johnson but even more of his friends, wingmen, and fellow squadron or wing pilots. It includes many off duty pictures to include sporting events and visits by UK and foreign dignitaries. It also contains images of Johnson as the station commander at RAF Cottesmore in 1959 while flying the Handley Page Victor jet bomber. The book finishes with a few photographs of Johnson or with his family and his later life to include meeting with the author.
While there have been books written by Johnson and others chronicling his life, Dilip shows this same life in visual splendour that only photographs can provide. It a fitting tribute to this famous pilot, leader, and family man. As I said earlier it goes well with the 1942 diary by the same author published the year before. It’s a quick and easy read with the real bonus being that of adding visual context to an already well known story. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to see what Johnnie Johnson’s life was like and anyone with an interest in Second World War RAF history.

Todd Shugart - Aviation News

"A new and thrilling perspective on the famous ace’s service during the war is offered by this picture book comprising approximately 300 photos, some not previously published. Most of the images are from Johnson’s personal collection and the scrapbooks of his family, while the remainder come from friends and archives. The snapshots have been selected, chronologically sequenced and captioned by Dilip Sarkar, a military aviation historian and close friend of Johnson’s.
This rich compilation is an absolute treasure, showcasing Johnson in a variety of settings, both posed and captured unawares"

Phillip Handleman - Aviation History, March 2022

Featured in

RAF News - September 10th 2021

Superb Stories like this were regularly featured in the stunning picture story strips in the comics I read as a young boy - legendary heroes of WWII brought to life by the incredible artistic talents of the men who drew their stories in my Lion, Tiger, Wizard and Hotspur comics. An incredible story of Johnnie Johnson - one of the truly great air aces of WWII.

Books Monthly

"Modelers and uniform junkies who want lots of photos of WWII RAF pilots and ground crew with a smattering of celebrities will rejoice with the publication of Johnnie Johnson's photograph collection."

Read the review here

Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

Video review on Scale Modelling Now

Scale Modelling Now

Featured in

Royal Air Force News - September 10th, 2021

A fascinating collection of black and white photographs, telling the life story - a ‘true-life boy’s own adventure’ - of British WWII fighter ace ‘Johnnie’ Johnson.

Read the full review here

Sebastian Palmer

As featured by Click here

Website of Forces Net - British Forces Broadcasting Service
 Dilip Sarkar MBE

About Dilip Sarkar MBE

Driven by his passion to record and share the human experience of war, DILIP SARKAR is a best-selling and prolific author whose work is highly regarded globally. A noted expert on the Battle of Britain period, the Few and Spitfire stories, Dilip enjoyed a long and very personal relationship with many survivors. Made an MBE for ‘services to aviation history in 2003, he was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Historical Society in 2006. A sought after, dynamic, speaker both in person and, more recently, ‘virtually’, Dilip’s enthusiasm is infectious; he has exhibited internationally and spoken at innumerable prestigious venues. An experienced broadcaster and presenter, he continues to work on TV documentaries both on and off camera, and is a firm supporter of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust. See www.dilipsarkarauthor.com.

Dilip is Project Lead on Battle of Britain: The People's Project, a new project launched in July 2022 in partnership with Pen & Sword and the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, which aims to discover untold stories from the Battle of Britain as part of a comprehensive seven-volume history of the battle. Click to visit the project website.

Perfect Partner

Johnnie Johnson's Great Adventure The Spitfire Ace of Ace's Last Look Back (Hardback)

Air Vice-Marshal Johnnie Johnson – a policeman’s son from Leicestershire – ended the Second World War as the RAF’s top-scoring fighter pilot. Fearless, and an exceptional pilot and marksman, Johnnie was also highly intelligent and a gifted writer. Having published two of his own books, Wing Leader and The Circle of Air Fighting, during the 1980s and 1990s, Johnnie co-authored several more with another fighter ace, namely Wing Commander P.B. ‘Laddie’ Lucas. In 1997, the ‘AVM’ suggested to his friend, the prolific author Dilip Sarkar, that the pair should collaborate on The Great…

By Dilip Sarkar MBE

Click here to buy both titles for £39.99
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