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Spitfire Faces (Hardback)

The Men and Women Behind the Iconic Fighter

Aviation > Aircraft > Spitfires & Hurricanes Aviation > Royal Air Force Aviation > WWII WWII

By Dilip Sarkar MBE
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 208
ISBN: 9781399065313
Published: 30th March 2023


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The Supermarine Spitfire arguably remains the most iconic fighter aircraft ever produced. Unsurprisingly, it has become a symbol of British excellence and national pride.

Interest in the Spitfire remains undiminished as time goes on, and its bibliography is virtually infinite. Whilst many of these books feature the technical and operational history of the Spitfire, this book features the human element of the story, concentrating on the stories of not only those who flew the Spitfire into battle, but also the men and women who maintained and built it.

By the summer of 1941, the Spitfire had replaced the Hurricane as the RAF’s front-line fighter, seeing service in every theatre of war, from north-west Europe to the Far East, and operating in many roles never envisaged by its gifted, yet tragic, designer, R.J. Mitchell. Although intended as a short-range daylight interceptor, Spitfires became dive-bombers, offensive escort fighters, night-fighters, photographic reconnaissance mounts – and more.

R.J. Mitchell, however, was always very conscious that a human being would risk his or her life flying his creation – and this book concentrates on that human story.

Covering the Spitfire’s design, development and wartime operational history, Spitfire Faces features photographs from the personal collections of survivors, collated as the result of the author’s close personal relationships and friendships with so many of them.

‘Dilip, like you, I grew up reading about the Aces and the well-known figures of Fighter Command; I really enjoy reading about the others, the less well-known, the support staff/ground crew, ATA etc. The recent crop of books you've published all address this very well - as do so many of your previous works ! It's an excellent work alongside "Spitfire Down" and "Forgotten Heroes of The Battle of Britain".
I was showing Vicki the book and commenting on the relevance and links between many of the subjects which makes for a pleasant flowing style through the book’.

Squadron Leader Jon Rooke RAF

As featured in

The Bookseller, Jan 23
 Dilip Sarkar MBE

About Dilip Sarkar MBE

Dilip Sarkar has now written over sixty well-received books. Having enjoyed a privileged relationship with many of The Few, he is a globally acknowledged expert on the Battle of Britain, currently working on a career-topping eight volume official history for The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust and National Memorial to The Few. Described by the late Dr Gordon Mitchell, son of the Spitfire’s designer RJ Mitchell, as an ‘aviation detective’, Dilip Sarkar did actually begin his professional life as just that – a police detective. His evidence-based approach and ability to discover new material is well-known – in 2023, for example, he was responsible for having Air Chief-Marshal Sir Keith Park, a New Zealander, officially recognised as one of The Few. Made an MBE for ‘services to aviation history’ in 2003, Dilip was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Historical Society in 2006, achieved First Class Honours in Modern History as a mature student in 2010, and in 2024 was made both a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and member of London’s Royal Air Force Club. During his long career, Dilip has exhibited and spoken internationally at such prestigious venues as Oxford University, the RAF Museum, IWM Museum, and Airborne Museum, Oosterbeek; he has worked on many TV documentaries, on and off screen, again internationally, and has an engaging presence on YouTube and Facebook in particular.

Perfect Partner

Spitfire Pilot Air Commodore Geoffrey Stephenson The Biography of the Pilot of Duxford’s Spitfire Mk.I N3200 (Hardback)

Under cloudless blue skies, the Oakwood Cemetery Annex in Montgomery, Alabama hosts the largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in the United States. Most of the graves contain young RAF trainee pilots killed during their flying training at nearby Maxwell and Gunter airfields during the Second World War. However, there is another grave, located at the edge of the plot, not from the early 1940s but, from 1954. The grave marks the final resting place of a 44-year-old senior RAF officer, Air Commodore Geoffrey Stephenson CBE. It begs the questions who was he and why is he buried there?…

By John Shields

Click here to buy both titles for £37.60
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