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Spitfire! (Hardback)

The Full Story of a Unique Battle of Britain Fighter Squadron

WWII Aviation Battle of Britain Aviation in WWII Spitfires & Hurricanes Luftwaffe Royal Air Force

By Dilip Sarkar MBE
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 484
Illustrations: 200
ISBN: 9781526732811
Published: 19th June 2019



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As a child, Dilip Sarkar was fascinated by the haunting image of an anonymous RAF Spitfire pilot. Taken minutes after landing from a Battle of Britain combat, this was Squadron Leader Brian Lane DFC, the commander of 19 Squadron, based at Fowlmere – and author of the stirring first-hand account Spitfire! The Experiences of a Fighter Pilot, published under the pseudonym B.J. Ellan. Deeply moving was the discovery that in 1942 Brian was reported missing after a futile nuisance raid over the Dutch coast.

During the mid-1980s, Dilip began researching the life and times of both Brian Lane and 19 Squadron, forging close friendships with many of the unit’s surviving Battle of Britain pilots and support staff. This enabled identification of the wartime censor’s blanks regarding people and places in Brian’s book, and the publication in 1990 of Dilip’s first ever book, Spitfire Squadron: 19 Squadron at War 1939-41.

Nearly thirty years later, sadly all of the survivors are now deceased, but Dilip’s close relationship has provided a huge archive of correspondence and interviews in addition to a unique photographic collection. Furthermore, the author, a retired police detective, has thoroughly investigated the life – and death – of Squadron Leader Lane.

This completely new book, Spitfire!, covers everything we would ever need to know about such a unit during the critical pre and early war period: the social, political, aviation and military history all in one volume – emphasising the human experience involved and the stories of casualties. With an immense photographic collection – many published here for the first time – this book is destined to become a classic.

So, strap yourself in, turn gun button to ‘fire’, and join 19 Squadron’s Spitfire pilots during our Darkest and Finest Hours … the ultimate ‘Band of Brothers’?

An interesting book full of first-hand information.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

First-class unit history. 10/10

The Great War Magazine, November 2019

It's a fitting and fully rounded story of a Spitfire squadron during the darkest, and, ultimately, finest hours.

The Armourer, November 2019

Researched from the 1980s, this is the most thorough book about any squadron in RAF service during the Battle of Britain. This research captured the thoughts and experiences of the pilots who are now all dead. It is an impeccable source of information and a gripping story – Most Highly Recommended.

Read the full review here


This completely new book, Spitfire!, covers everything we would ever need to know about such a unit during the critical pre and early war period.


Watch the full video review here

Scale Modelling Now

Yet again Dilip Sarkar delivers. His writing style is joyous and free flowing. An author who gives you history and the facts without sending you to sleep. Mr Sarkar writes the sort of book that once you pick it up, you will not want to put it down. Well done!

Amazon Customer, David Baverstock

Anoher superb volume from this prolific author. A most enjoyable and interesting read. I have all his books (many signed by the author and or BOB pilots) and this is the best yet! Well done Dilip.

Amazon Customer

A book all battle of Britain scholars should have on their shelf.

This book is easy to read and pact full of information, I highly recommend this to all.

Amazon Customer, Richard Domoney-Saunders

... we give Spitfire! a healthy recommendation.

Britain at War, October 2019

Promotion for author Kent BoB event as featured by

Isle of Thanet Gazette (9th & 16th August 2019)/Dover Express (8th & 15th August 2019)

Dilip Sarkar comes across a kind man who enjoys an enduring affection and connection with the men and women of Fighter Command.

His book is a fine monument to No19 Squadron – it’s pilots, technicians and administrators. The reality is however many Battle of Britain books that come along in the year ahead, some, like this one will stand out. Highly recommended.

Review by Mark Barnes for War History Online

Publicity for author's Bentley Priory Museum event as featured by

Optima, 22nd June 2019

As featured in

RAF News 23/8/19

Featured in

RAF News, August 2019

Dilip Sarkar now turns his atttention to the Spitfire, Britain's most iconic warplane, and the one that most commentators believe was most intrumental in helping Britain to achieve air superiority during the Battle of Britain. Superbly told.

Books Monthly

"This is an admirable book with high production values with the author getting into the spirit and culture of the squadron and the RAF at this crucial time."

Reviewed by

Robert Bartlett

'Renowned historian to launch new book at museum'

My Radlett & Shenley News, July 2019

Featured "On The Bookshelf" by Neil Smith for

Wargames Illustrated, June 2019

Life among The Few: Rare photos show the gaunt faces and bullet-holed Spitfires of the heroic RAF Battle of Britain pilots who saw off Hitler's Luftwaffe

Mail Online

Researched over many years with the full co-operation of 19 Squadron's surviving pilots, support staff and the relatives of casualties, this 'highly detailed but readable' book covers the aviation, military, social and political aspects of the famous unit.

The Bookseller 8/3/19

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. A sought-after, dynamic speaker, Dilip's work has been exhibited internationally and he continues to work on TV documentaries, on and off camera. 

Perfect Partner

Letters from the Few Unique Memories from the Battle of Britain (Hardback)

Fascinated by the Battle of Britain from an early age, as a young man Dilip Sarkar realised that recording and sharing the Few’s memories was of paramount importance. At the time, back in the mid-1980s, membership of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association was well populated and the then Honorary Secretary, the now late Wing Commander Pat Hancock DFC, OBE, supported Dilip’s research by forwarding letters to individual pilots of interest. Those members of the Few included a wide-range of personalities, from famous airmen like Group Captain Peter Townsend and Air Marshal Sir Denis Crowley-Milling,…

By Dilip Sarkar MBE

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