Month: November 2020

Author Guest Post: Dilip Sarkar MBE

Johnnie Johnson’s 1942 Diary: The War Diary of the Spitfire Ace of Aces

Air Vice-Marshal James Edgar ‘Johnnie’ Johnson, a policeman’s son from Leicestershire, was the ultimate Boys’ Own Paper character: the RAF’s top-scoring fighter pilot and wing leader par excellence of the Second World War. A one-time household name, Johnnie’s aerial combat successes inspired schoolboys for generations – myself very much included. I was not to know then, of course, that one day ‘Greycap Leader’ and I would become great friends, spending many happy days together, attending enthusiast events, lectures, and our book signings.

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The Battle of Cambrai: 27th November

With November being the month of Remembrance, we all consider those who went before us and the sacrifices they made. 27th November is always particularly poignant for me as it is the date my great uncle, George Hewitt was killed during the Battle of Cambrai.

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Author Guest Post: Graham M. Simons

The Story Behind the Book

Back in the early 1990s, I was privileged to research, write and compile three UK airline histories: During that time I met, interviewed and more importantly gained the trust of many of the major key players in the industry. People like Fred Newman, the chairman of Dan-Air for thirty-seven of the airline’s forty-year history, William ‘Bill’ Armstrong, the founder and chairman of Autair – and so many other airlines he could not remember them all! Ed Posey, the managing director of Court Line Aviation, who took the eventual collapse very personally, Errol Cossey, one of the three founders of Air Europe, who sold out at just the right time before moving on to found Air 2000, selling that and founding Flying Colours, selling that and…  David James, then the darling ‘Company Doctor’ of the City of London who was supposed to look after the banks interests, but fell in love with the smell of the kerosene and roar of the jets. They all saw dealing with me as being fraught with commercial danger – after all, most were still actively involved in the holiday business in one shape or form – but this understandable caution was balanced by their egos that wanted to be of assistance to ensure their story was told! Even so, they all tended to play things very close to their chests.

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Author Guest Post: Colin Higgs

Empty Sky was never meant to be a book. But then none of the more than 130+ interviews we have conducted so far were ever intended for books; they were all filmed for TV programmes.

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Introducing Codebreaker Girls by Jan Slimming

“What would it be like to keep a secret for fifty years? Never telling your parents, your children, or even your husband?”

Codebreaker Girls: A Secret Life at Bletchley Park tells the true story of Daisy Lawrence. Following extensive research, the author uses snippets of information, unpublished photographs and her own recollections to describe scenes from her mother’s poor, but happy, upbringing in London, and the disruptions caused by the outbreak of the Second World War to a young woman in the prime of her life.

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Meet the author: Chris Goss

Many books have been written about the Battle of Britain and understandably are from the victor’s perspective.  However, very little has been written about the losers.  Over the years, author Chris Goss, himself a former RAF senior officer, has studied and written about the Luftwaffe’s part in the Battle of Britain.  In 2019, he wrote Knights of the Battle of Britain listing all German aircrew who were awarded the coveted Ritterkreuz-the Knight’s Cross.  This prompted him to study those Luftwaffe fighter pilots who achieved ace status (five or more victories ) by 31 October 1940.  This book is the result of his studies which lists all Messerschmitt Bf 109 pilots, and to a lesser extent Messerschmitt Bf 110 pilots, who became aces in the Summer of 1940 with as full a biography as possible of each and photographs of nearly all 204 of them, something which has never been done in the 80 years since the Battle of Britain.

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