Five of the Few - Survivors of the Battle of Britain and Blitz Tell Their Story
Publisher: Grub Street Publishing
A personal wartime human history of five RAF airmen who fought Fighter Command’s air battles during World War II. Five distinguished RAF airmen, four pilots and one radar operator/navigator, who fought air battles during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz, have recounted their experiences in detail to author Steve Darlow. Their stories have never before been published, and they talk engagingly of their service life, combats, losses, injuries, friendships and fears—flying Spitfires, Hurricanes, Blenheims, Beaufighters and Havocs. One pilot tells of the time he fell victim to the enemy, knowing he was going down with his plane. A Beaufighter radar operator remembers being involved in shooting down a German aircraft—“He took a vertical dive, struck the ground and exploded with a shower of incendiaries. I felt like a child with a new toy. I had at last proved myself but for some reason I suddenly felt a little sad.” These men would also distinguish themselves in subsequent air campaigns—night defense of the UK, offensive operations over the continent and support to D-Day and beyond. In between the aerial combats and ground attack operations, promotions, decorations and command responsibilities would come their way. But not all would make it through safely to the end of the war. One would end up behind barbed wire. Collectively Five of the Few is a war story of youth maturing, through aspiration and idealism, courage and bravado, fear and heroism, memory and reflection. It is a reminder of why so much was owed, and still is, by so many to so few.