So it was for most of us!
THROUGH FOOTLESS HALLS OF AIR.
Author Floyd Williamson tells the stories of "A Few of the Many
Who Failed to Return." He meticulously researches the short lives
of six Atlantic Canada airmen in this exciting and moving chronicle
of life-and-death struggles of fighting airmen in the war-torn air.
He notes dryly that "there was a long list to choose from."
He provides a quite good selection of photographs and illustrations
to balance his story, as well as many inserts from interested parties.
Of course his 'six Atlantic Airmen' are crewed up with many other
colorful characters. Together they fly a wide variety of warplanes,
old and new, which the author describes with a keen eye as the aircrew
do battle with the Luftwaafe.
The costly attack on Nuremburg on the night of March 30-31, 1944,
is meticulously analyzed, with the names and addresses of all 111
Canadians casualties listed on no less than three full pages.
There is also a glossary, an extensive selected bibliogaphy
and an index to assist serious readers, who should find this
title worthy of the intense effort necessary to complete it.
ABOVE and BEYOND
Spencer Dunmore has fond memories of being well-treated on the
visit by fellow "pimply-faced pests" Air Training Corps youngsters to
the RCAF's 6 Group of Bomber Command. The Group's dozen or more heavy
bomber squadrons were manned by Canadians, administered by Canadians,
and paid for by Candians.
But Dunmore, his fellow cadets and the rest of England had never
heard of it. Not a whisper about the group in any newspapers or the BBC.
Yet one in four of the airmen in the air force were Canadians.
Dunmore was grateful to the ordinary Canadians he met, whom
he thought were "decent men,possessed of a healthy disrespect
for military claptrap, including rank badges and tradition. The
fastest, most efficient way was the only way that anything
should be done. It mattered to them not a whit how the Duke
of Wellington did it. They were, without doubt, the best
ambassadors ever sent anywhere."
This book is what Dunmore calls his long-overdue tribute.
The Contents page gives a clear summary of progress of the War:
PART One - 1939: CHAOS and CRISIS
PART Two - 1940: TRAGEDY and TRIUMPH
PART Three - 1941: THE LONELY FIGHT
PART Four - 1942: NADIR
PART Five - 1943: THE TIDE TURNS
PART Six - 1944: THE ROAD BACK
PART Seven - 1945: VICTORY
From the early stupid 'leaflet' raids, and defeat at Dunkirk
through every theatre of war, right on the the Atom bombs on the Japs,
the air people of the RAF, the RCAF and the RN get their proper
due. Many battles are mentioned, as well as the names of outstnding
heroes with their decorations for bravery properly described.
The author has a unique ability to change smoothly from an
romantic episode to an fast-moving aviation "blood and guts" story,
which keeps his narrative rolling well.
Since becoming a Canadian citizen Dunmore has written 12 books,
of which this, his last, could be his best.
ALL THE FINE YOUNG EAGLES
In the cockpit with Canada's Second World War Fighter Pilots
David L. Bashaw tells his own thrilling tale as a Canadian fighter
pilot in the RAF and the RCAF while interweaving no less than 246
strands of individual stories by many other Fighter Command pilots
to produce this remarkeable book.
In his foreword AVM J.E.Johnson, CB, CBE, DSO**, DFC* mentions
that when he was Wing Commander Flying of several Canadian Squadrons,
he saw and briefed the pilots every day. His outstanding squadron
coomanders were Danny Browne, Hugh Godfrey, George Hill, Wally
Conrad, George Keefer, "Buck" McNair, Dal Russell and Wally McLeod.
They are described as being "good and trusted leaders who
were always there in the tightest of corners, and that it was
a privilege to be associated with such fighting Canadians."
The fighter ace then says: "In Colonel David Bradshaw's
outstanding and carefully reasearched narrative we again meet
that gallant company."
High praise indeed from one who has been through it all!
Bashow brings his readers into the cockpit of many fighters,
including the world-renowned British-built Hurricanes and Spitfires
and the American-built lomg-range Mustang.
Operations range from The UK and France through North Africa,
Malta, Sicily, Italy, and the Far East, including Burma, Ceylon
and South Pacific waters. Chancy flights of fighters from RN
aircraft carriers get a well-deserved description.
Almost 400 pages of densely-packed narrative, an extensive
bibliography. an index, and 49 photos make this memorable book
a welcome addtion to any library.
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