by Guy GibsonI picked this up at lunch time from the op shop next to the pie shop, as I didn't have a newspaper with me.It began with the following (slightly abbreviated) introduction to "Enemy Coast Ahead" by Guy Gibson.The introduction is by Arthur Harris, who I have since discovered was the chief of Bomber Command during WWII.
"This is a magnificent story, well and simply told by as great a warrior as these Islands ever bred.It is also History.
Guy Gibson was not a professional airman; he joined the service in peace time 'because he wanted to learn to fly'.War supervened and he remained an airman until his death in action.
His natural aptitude for Leadership, his outstanding skill and his extraordinary valour marked him early for command; for Great Attempts and Great Achievements.His personal contribution towards victory was beyond doubt unsurpassed.
...Guy Gibson would not stop fighting.He resisted or avoided all efforts to rest him from operations.For his first 'rest' he asked to be transferred to night fighting, and as a highly skilled night pilot he was of great value to Fighter Command in raising and training the night-fighting force which eventually defeated the 'blitz'.To enforce a second 'rest' on him I had to make a personal appeal to another warrior of similar calibre-Winston Churchill-who there and then ordered Gibson down to Chequers and took him with him to the United States.There he arranged for Gibson to be detained for a short period of travelling round air bases to talk to American airmen.In a third and final effort to force him to rest from operations, he was put on his Group's staff.A few days later he was found in his office with-literally-tears in his eyes at being separated from his beloved crews and unable to go on operations.
It was in fact breaking his heart.
(Harris goes on to defend the crews against criticism of drunken parties mentioned in the book)...Remember that these crews, shining youth on the threshold of life, lived under circumstances of intolerable strain.They were in fact-and they knew it-faced with the virtual certainty of death, probably in one of its least pleasant forms.They knew, well enough, that they owed their circumstances to the stupidity, negligence and selfishness of the older generations who since 1918 had done little to avert another war and even less to prepare for it.
...If there is a Valhalla, Guy Gibson and his band of brothers will be found there at all the parties, seated far above the salt."
This is followed by a foreword and dedication by Guy Gibson.He ultimately dedicates the book to his comrades who were not as lucky as he to survive."Let us never, never forget Them."
There follows five pages of Pilots and Crew who he flew with, and were "killed", "missing presumed killed" or "missing-POW".There are 114 names listed.The last five are:-
and my crew
missing, night September 15, 1943
F/O Taerum 'Terry'
F/Lt Hutchison 'Hutch'
P/O Deering 'Tony'
Then the book begins:-
The moon was full; everywhere its pleasant, watery haze spread over the peaceful English countryside, rendering it colourless.But there is not much colour in Lincolnshire, anyway....
I haven't read far beyond here.There were tear drops on the pie shop table by the time I got to 'Trev'.On Guy Gibson's last mission he was heard on the radio giving his crews a pat on the back and sending them homeward.He never returned.From the first line you can see he could write.He never saw his book in print.
I am giving this volume five stars virtually unread.Am I allowed to do that?
Can you believe we are still fighting?
|Title||Great World War II Air Stories|
|eBook format||Hardcover, (torrent)|
|Publisher||Octopus Books Ltd.- StMichael|
|File size||3.9 Mb|
|Book rating||4.5 (2 votes)