“Expertly researched . . . 20 different narratives in which these heroes venture out night after night on sorties throughout World War II Europe.” —Plane and Pilot Three weeks after Stirling air gunner Doug Fry was reported missing over Germany his mother was still clinging to the vain hope that he was alive. Then a neighbor said she had seen him in the cinema just down the road. The airman and his crew had been filmed for a Bomber Command documentary shortly before they took off from Mildenhall to attack Remscheid. Three hours later four of the crew were killed, but it was another two months after she had also seen the poignant film that widowed mother of eight Winnie Fry knew her nineteen-year-old son, though wounded, was still alive. Lancaster pilot Victor Wood’s aircraft arrived too early over Gelsenkirchen when the target was shrouded in darkness and the Main Force was miles behind. His 12 Squadron bomber was suddenly struck with terrifying force by flak and turned upside-down. An engine was on fire, the unconscious mid-upper gunner, slumped in his turret, was being sprayed with petrol and their bomb-load had been struck by shrapnel. Could Vic Wood get his crew back to base safely? These are just two of twenty dramatic Bomber Command stories in Bomber Boys. Night after night, the young men, some just out of school, went off on sorties, having pushed to the back of their minds the unpalatable awareness that they might never see another dawn. If death did not find them on the first few terrifying sorties they grew up very quickly in order to fight another day.
True tales of heroism and the men who fought and died in the skies of World War II Europe. In World War II, there were all too many ways for a fighting man to die. But no theater of operations offered more fatal choices than the skies above Nazi-occupied Europe. Inside of a B-17 Bomber, thousands of feet above the earth, death was always a moment away. From the hellish storms of enemy flak and relentless strafing of Luftwaffe fighters, to mid-air collisions, mechanical failure, and simple bad luck, it’s a wonder any man would volunteer for such dangerous duty. But some very brave men did. Some paid the ultimate price. Some made it home. But in the end, all would achieve victory. Here, author Travis L. Ayres has gathered a collection of previously untold personal accounts of combat and camaraderie aboard the B-17 Bombers that flew countless sorties against the enemy, as related by the men who lived and fought in the air—and survived. They are stories of heroism, sacrifice, miraculous survival and merciless warfare. But they should all be remembered... INCLUDES PHOTOS
Since the Second World War, depictions of Royal Air Force operations in film and television drama have become so numerous that they make up a genre worthy of scholarly attention. In this illuminating study, S. P. MacKenzie explores the different ways in which the men of RAF Bomber Command have been represented in dramatic form on the big and small screen from the war years to the present day. Bomber Boys on Screen is the first in-depth study of how and why the screen-drama image of those who flew, those who directed them, and those who provided support for RAF bomber operations has changed over time, sometimes in contested circumstances. Until now dramas that focus on Bomber Command have tended to be mentioned only in passing or studied in isolation, despite the prevalence of surveys of both the British war film genre and of aviation cinema. In Bomber Boys on Screen MacKenzie examines the development, presentation, and reception of significant dramas on a decade-by-decade basis. Titles from the beginning of the war (The Lion Has Wings, 1939) to the start of new century (Bomber's Moon, 2014) are situated in the context of technical possibilities and limitations, evolving social and cultural norms in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, and the development of moral and utilitarian controversies surrounding the wartime bomber offensive directed against Nazi Germany. While the focus is on feature films and television plays, reference is also made to documentaries, memorials, veterans' organizations, book titles, war comics, and other representations of the war fought by Bomber Command.
A gripping account of the everyday heroism of British bomber crews in 1943 - the year when Bomber Command believed it could win WWII by bombing alone. In 1943 the RAF began a bombing campaign against Germany, the like of which had never before been seen. Over the next twelve months, tens of thousands of aircrews flew across the North Sea to drop their bombs on German cities. They were opposed not only by the full force of the Luftwaffe, but by a nightmare of flak, treacherously icy conditions, and constant mechanical malfunction. Most of these crews never finished their tour of operations but were either shot down and killed, or taken prisoner by an increasingly hostile enemy. This is the story of the everyday heroism of British bomber crews in the days when it was widely believed that the Allies could win the Second World War by bombing alone. Kevin Wilson has interviewed hundreds of former airmen about what their lives were like in 1943: the stomach-churning tension of flying repeatedly over hostile territory, the terror at being shot down or captured, and the peculiar mixture of guilt and pride at unleashing such devastation on Germany.
Against the backdrop of the Battle of Britain, Percy Prune was the instrumental figure used to teach RAF pilots how not to fly. This book looks back on Prune's creation and his development as a persona. Anecdote and illustrations help to provide nostalgia and military interest.
The riveting story of the American scientists, tinkerers, and nerds who solved one of the biggest puzzles of World War II—and developed one of the most powerful weapons of the war 12 Seconds of Silence is the remarkable, lost story of how a ragtag group of American scientists overcame one of the toughest problems of World War II: shooting things out of the sky. Working in a secretive organization known as Section T, a team of physicists, engineers, and everyday Joes and Janes took on a devilish challenge. To help the Allies knock airplanes out of the air, they created one of the world’s first “smart weapons.” Against overwhelming odds and in a race against time, mustering every scrap of resource, ingenuity, and insight, the scientists of Section T would eventually save countless lives, rescue the city of London from the onslaught of a Nazi superweapon, and help bring about the Axis defeat. A holy grail sought after by Allied and Axis powers alike, their unlikely innovation ranks with the atomic bomb as one of the most revolutionary technologies of the Second World War. Until now, their tale was largely untold. For fans of Erik Larson and Ben Macintyre, set amidst the fog of espionage, dueling spies, and the dawn of an age when science would determine the fate of the world, 12 Seconds of Silence is a tribute to the extraordinary wartime mobilization of American science and the ultimate can-do story.
From his beginning as Bill Hooper's personal cartoon doodle decorating the wall of A Flight's hut, the affable dimwit known as Pilot Officer Prune served right through the war, was posted to every command and even found himself Out East. The little Spitfire pilot became the first example of a visual aid for technical training, showing thousands of aircrew all over the world how not to do it. In this book his creator Bill Hooper and Tim Hamilton trace the life and times of the plum nose character who proved such a successful anti-hero with the RAF and who doubtless saved many lives. Using drawings from the period, Bill Hooper's anecdotes and wherever possible original documents, this book should appeal to those with a keen interest in the RAF or aviation, or those who appreciate the humour of this cartoon character.