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All Posts, Aviation, Military History

Author Guest Post: Andy Long

Boulton-Paul Defiant – the definitive history: an update…

Andy Long sat in the Defiant replica on display in the Kent Battle of Britain Museum, Hawkinge.

It has been a very long time since I started writing the history of the controversial Defiant turret-fighter for Pen and Sword, and I am fully aware that it should have been finished a long time ago. But there are a list of setbacks, unfortunately, which have contrived to push back completion. The good news is that recently that I have resumed making further headway towards completing this detailed work. For those out there who have shown continual interest, patiently but repeatedly asking “Is it ready yet?”, I must give a heartfelt apology – but I can assure that it will be – soon! I’d also like to go on record and say a big thank you for the encouragement and support of Dilip Sarkar MBE, who has been an ever-constant rock to me over the years, and to my Commissioning Editor, Martin Mace – who must have the patience of a saint!

A nice air to air study of Defiant N3503 from 410 Squadron. This aircraft was lost in April 1942 when it crashed into Aberlady Bay, East Lothian.

On the plus side, these delaying issues have ironically been beneficial in some ways, for I have used the time to contact many extra people who have kindly supplied information, photographs, log books and documents that might not otherwise have made it to the final draft. The book has an illustrated roll of honour and since completion, of the 249 names on it, images of 123 of them have been sourced, which, I feel, alone is a good return for the time spent on it. Currently, I am working on the most technical parts of the book, which take longer to complete. Naturally, I want to get things as right and as comprehensive as possible first time around, and this, of course, takes time.

Defiant L7025 of 264 Squadron, taken at RAF Debden. This Defiant was lost on 28th August 1940 off Herne Bay; Pilot Officer Iain Stephenson baled out and was rescued, but his air gunner, Sergeant Bill Maxwell, was killed.
Defiant V1110 pictured on a snowy day, possibly at Drem, during the winter of 1941.

I know many people dip into the Pen and Sword blog and if there are any who have Defiant connections, then please get in touch as it’s not too late to add more information – I can be contacted at andrew-long@ntlworld.com.

Andy Long, August 2023

Andy Long joins Dilip Sarkar talking Defiants: watch the video here.