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Voices in Flight: RAF Escapers and Evaders in WWII (Hardback)

Aviation > Royal Air Force Aviation > WWII WWII

By Martin W Bowman
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Series: Voices in Flight
Pages: 236
ISBN: 9781783831753
Published: 28th January 2015



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During the Second World War, 156 RAF men successfully escaped from German PoW camps in Western Europe. A further 1,975 men evaded capture after having been shot down over this same territory. Martin Bowman has drawn together tales of just a handful of these men, illustrating the bravery and resourcefulness that characterised their experiences. British, American, and Canadian pilot testimonies all feature, as does the fascinating story of a female secret agent, parachuted behind enemy lines. By bringing these stories together, Bowman is able to capture an authentic sense of the times at hand and the reality of life as an escaper/evader during this tumultuous and incredibly dangerous time. This is an entertaining publication set to keep readers on the edge of the seats, and it serves as a tribute to the courageous individuals who found themselves behind enemy lines during the Second World War.

Although the title of this book might indicate only English ‘escapees’ are covered, the story of German fighter pilot Graf von Werra has also been included. Von Werra was shot down over England and made a prisoner of war by the British, but he ultimately managed to find his way back to ‘Die Heilmat.’ It is quite sporting of the British author to include the story of the German pilot who eluded the British and later the Canadians in such detail. Von Werra would later drown at sea, North of Vlissingen, when he took off from Katwijk for a practise flight in his Messerschmidt Bf 109, but ended up with engine trouble. An inglorious end for such an unique man.

This book is also about the people on the ground. In occupied territory there were resistance fighters who specialized in aiding stranded allied pilots. Among those were a surprising number of women, likely because they would have drawn less attention from the occupying forces, but also because they possessed the fortitude and skill to perform this potentially deadly task. Having been born into a life of peace it is impossible to imagine the perseverance and heroism required for this kind of work.

For those interested in war stories – particularly those that glorify not the battles but the people, both military and civilian – and who wish to focus on their involvement and extraordinary efforts, this book is highly recommended. The book contains many photographs of people whose stories deserve to endure in our collective consciousness.

This amply illustrated book was one of the most gripping and exceptional I have read in a long time.


Another book by one of Britain's best known Aviation authors, here is the epic story of some of the air crew who escaped from German prisoner of war camps, aided by incredibly brave civilians and resistance workers.
A must read tale.

The Bulletin of The Military Historical Society

Many tales taken from books, memoirs and interviews fill the pages and are very readable.


Another book from a well-established author of WWII RAF actions and activities...This is an entertaining collection of stories that will keep the reader turning pages to the end...A great read-don't miss it.


About Martin W Bowman

With well over 100 published books, MARTIN W. BOWMAN is one of Britain’s best-known aviation historians and authors. Specialising in Second World War history and post-war aviation, Martin’s interest in these subjects was driven by the prolific number of RAF and USAAF air bases that were established in his native East Anglia. His previous books have included works such as Legend of the LancasterConfounding the ReichDuxford and the Big Wings, as well as numerous titles in the exhaustive Air War series, which, between them, provide extensive coverage of operations carried out on D-Day and during the Market Garden offensive at Arnhem.

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