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Thunderbolts over Burma (Hardback)

A Pilot's War Against the Japanese in 1945 and the Battle of Sittang Bend

WWII Aviation Aviation in WWII Aviation Memoirs Japan & the Pacific Front Memoirs Royal Air Force

By Angus Findon, Mark Hillier
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 216
Illustrations: 50 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526779663
Published: 17th September 2020

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The Republic P-47 proved to be a formidable ground-attack aircraft and in RAF service was especially devastating during the fighting in Burma in 1945. There, the Thunderbolt was deployed using the ‘cab rank’ system that proved so effective for the Hawker Typhoons during the Battle for Normandy. Flying standing patrols close to the front line, as and when they were needed the Thunderbolts would be directed to specific targets by ground controllers deployed among the Army units in contact with the enemy. The effects of the aerial bombardment the Thunderbolts unleashed was all too often devastating.

Though he only joined 34 Squadron in 1945, Angus Findon quickly found himself embroiled in the last battles of the Second World War – as the many entries in his pilot’s logbook testify. In particular, he and his fellow Thunderbolt pilots, often operating alongside RAF Spitfires, played a vital part in the Battle of the Sittang Bend.

On 2 July 1945, a Gurkha patrol ambushed a small enemy unit and captured a despatch bag containing a copy of the operational plan for a break-out that the Japanese Army was planning. Forewarned, the Allies were ready when the enemy attack came.

So swift and destructive was the RAF response, that the breakout ended in disaster for the Japanese who suffered such severe losses that some formations were wiped out. The Battle of Sittang Bend effectively brought the war in Burma to an end.

In his remarkable memoir, never previously published and supported here by additional narrative from the aviation historian Mark Hillier, Angus Findon details not only his part in the Allied victory from his initial training, but graphically recounts what it was like to fly the Thunderbolt and operate in the harsh conditions of the Burmese airfields during the final months of the Second World War.

I do recommend this book for anyone with an interest in the air campaign in Burma, RAF Thunderbolts, or military aircrew memoirs.

Reviewed by Todd Shugart

An excellent and most intriguing read and recommended for learning more of life in the war and in the Far East.

Read the full review here

FS Support

What a fabulous book, if you're looking for a nuts and bolts account of the Thunderbolt then you need to look for one of the many books that cover that, but if you want a first hand account of the largely forgotten air war over the jungles of Burma in the dying months of world war II then you can't do better than this book. It is full of insights that can only come from someone who was there.

John Sheehan, Amazon Customer

Thunderbolts over Burma looks at the end of WWII in the theatre of war in Burma, many say the forgotten war as people here were obviously more concerned about the war in Europe. This book takes us through the memoirs of Angus Findon, a pilot who flew alongside spitfires during the last battles of Burma, used to take out ground troops and targets. Findon comes late into the war as a pilot but he is following a dream of flying despite having lots of hurdles to achieve his goals. The Thunderbolts were a very fast plane but was expensive to build and the handling was lesser to the Spitfire it’s smaller compatriot. The book concentrates on Findon obviously and the fight against the Japanese at Pegu Yoma and Sittang Bend.

I have read a number of books in recent months about the theatre of war in the east and found them all very interesting and fascinating. The war in the East is always going to pale against the war in Europe, but in my opinion there is so much interesting information and stories to be revealed, I hope that Pen and Sword produces more books along this theme. This book is a fascinating read and could be heavy in some places but the author has taken a lighter tone which does help considering the size of the book. The book is very well written by Mark Hillier, and it was great to learn about the Thunderbolts and the way they operated and how they behaved. I loved the way this book was written and it was my kind of thing in like a diary format, the photographs of Findon’s flying logbook is fantastic showing you the actual book really added authenticity and credit to the story of the man. An excellent book indeed, highly recommended by myself to anyone. A 5 star rating for sure.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


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UK Historian

The book, published by Pen & Sword Air World, cannot be missing on the shelves of any aviation enthusiast of the Second World War because it describes an unusual experience in a little known war theater.

Read the full Italian review here

On The Old Barbed Wire

About Angus Findon

Like many young boys educated in the lead up to the Second World War, ANGUS FINDON was set on joining the RAF and becoming a fighter pilot. However, plagued by ill health he was initially forced to settle for helping the war effort by joining the ARP. Subsequently employed as a ploughman working the fields of the South Downs, he also served in the Home Guard. Not one to give up, he persisted in his desire to fly and eventually, after training in Canada, found himself in the cockpit of a Republic P-47 Thunderbolt II in Burma.


 Mark Hillier

About Mark Hillier

Mark Hillier is a chartered surveyor who has a deep knowledge of the history of the RAF, with a particular focus on the Second World War. He is also a qualified pilot, having flown for more than twenty-two years. Mark currently flies a Stearman biplane from Goodwood Aerodrome, the former RAF Westhampnett. He has previously written or co-authored five successful books on aviation, including the biography of Wing Commander Thomas Murray DSO, DFC and Bar, contributed numerous magazine articles and is a regular public speaker on aviation matters.

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