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The ‘Real’ Spitfire Pilot (Hardback)

Flight Lieutenant D.M. Crook DFC’s Original Unpublished Manuscript

Aviation > Aircraft > Spitfires & Hurricanes Aviation > WWII WWII

By David M Crook, Edited by Dilip Sarkar MBE
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 168
Illustrations: 32 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399003360
Published: 21st September 2021


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Flight Lieutenant David Moore Crook DFC’s original Spitfire Pilot ranks among the finest first-hand accounts published during the Second World War, particularly for a Battle of Britain airman. It rightly remains a sought-after classic.

A Spitfire pilot during the epic aerial battles of the summer of 1940, ‘DMC’ became a decorated ace. However, he did not survive the war: his Spitfire inexplicably crashed into the sea off the Scottish coast on 18 December 1944. A married man and father, he remains missing.

First published under wartime conditions in 1942, Spitfire Pilot was not heavily censored – unlike Squadron Leader Brian Lane DFC’s similar first-hand account Spitfire! The Experiences of a Fighter Pilot, published the same year. DMC’s book was based on his entries in two Stationary Office lined notebooks, hastily scribbled between sorties, and using his pilot’s flying log book for reference.

In 1990, the renowned Battle of Britain historian Dilip Sarkar traced DMC’s widow, Dorothy, who enthusiastically supported the idea of re-publishing Spitfire Pilot. She duly uncovered bound copies of DMC’s original manuscript, which she passed to Dilip.

The Real Spitfire Pilot is, therefore, DMC’s original, completely uncensored and unedited words, shared here for the first time. It provides a totally authentic window on the past, providing a unique glimpse at the lives – and deaths – of real Spitfire pilots in our Finest Hour. With an introduction and conclusion by Dilip Sarkar, and illustrated with previously unseen photographs, this is destined to become another classic.

"Regarded as a classic, because written at the time, has a ring of total authenticity".

The Aviation Historian - Issue No 44

"This is a remarkable piece of editorial work and therefore a very good read."

Adrian Greaves, The Anglo-Zulu War Historical Society
 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.

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