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By Robert Coram. 2007
During the course of his military career, Bud Day won every available combat medal, escaped death on no less than…seven occasions, and spent 67 months as a POW in the infamous Hanoi Hilton, along with John McCain. Despite sustained torture, Day would not break. He became a hero to POWs everywhere--a man who fought without pause, not a prisoner of war, but a prisoner at war. Upon his return, passed over for promotion to Brigadier General, Day retired. But years later, with his children grown and a lifetime of service to his country behind him, he would engage in another battle, this one against an opponent he never had expected: his own country. On his side would be the hundreds of thousands of veterans who had fought for America only to be betrayed. And what would happen next would make Bud Day an even greater legend.
"Exceptional military history worthy of its heroic subject." —Matthew J. DavenportIn the vein of Band of Brothers and American Sniper, a…riveting history of Alvin York, the World War I legend who killed two dozen Germans and captured more than 100, detailing York's heroics yet also restoring the unsung heroes of his patrol to their rightful place in history—from renowned World War I historian James Carl Nelson.October 8, 1918 was a banner day for heroes of the American Expeditionary Force. Thirteen men performed heroic deeds that would earn them Medals of Honor. Of this group, one man emerged as the single greatest American hero of the Great War: Alvin Cullum York. A poor young farmer from Tennessee, Sergeant York was said to have single-handedly killed two dozen Germans and captured another 132 of the enemy plus thirty-five machine guns before noon on that fateful Day of Valor. York would become an American legend, celebrated in magazines, books, and a blockbuster biopic starring Gary Cooper. The film, Sergeant York, told of a hell-raiser from backwoods Tennessee who had a come-to-Jesus moment, then wrestled with his newfound Christian convictions to become one of the greatest heroes the U.S. Army had ever known. It was a great story—but not the whole story.In this absorbing history, James Carl Nelson unspools, for the first time, the complete story of Alvin York and the events that occurred in the Argonne Forest on that day. Nelson gives voice, in particular, to the sixteen “others” who fought beside York. Hailing from big cities and small towns across the U.S. as well as several foreign countries, these soldiers included a patrician Connecticut farmer whose lineage could be traced back to the American Revolution, a poor runaway from Massachusetts who joined the Army under a false name, and a Polish immigrant who enlisted in hopes of expediting his citizenship. The York Patrol shines a long overdue spotlight on these men and York, and pays homage to their bravery and sacrifice. Illustrated with 25 black-and-white images, The York Patrol is a rousing tale of courage, tragedy, and heroism.
A retired RAF Squadron Leader recounts his decades of service in Cold War combat zones across the globe, including his…crucial role in the Falklands. Joining the Royal Air Force in 1970, Bob Tuxford distinguished himself as a fighter pilot, test pilot, squadron leader and flying instructor. In this enthralling memoir, he shares his story of active service across the world. Among other episodes, Tuxford details his exchange tour in the US Air Force and his courageous mission during the Falklands war that earned him an Air Force Cross for Gallantry. As a Victor tanker captain, Tuxford had the job of executing air-to-air refueling operations through the 1970s and early 1980s. This experience prepared him for the vital role he played in the first Black Buck mission during the Falklands campaign. Tuxford was the last Victor tanker to refuel the Vulcan piloted by Martin Withers before bombing commenced on that fateful night in 1982. Later in his career, Bob became the senior test pilot on the heavy aircraft test squadron at the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment, Boscombe Down. In Contact!, Tuxford offers an intimate look at life in the RAF while shedding light on the importance of tanker squadrons during the Cold War.
By John Marsden. 2008
Anexamination the life of the mid-12th-century Gaelic-Norse lord and his cultural and historical significance, by the author of Galloglas. Through…almost eight hundred years, Somerled of Argyll has been variously denounced as an intractable rebel against his rightful king and esteemed as the honored ancestor of the later medieval Lord of the Isles. But now he can be recognized as a much more complex figure of major prominence in twelfth-century Scotland and of truly landmark significance in the long history of the Gael. In this book, author John Marsden investigates Somerled&’s emergence in the forefront of the Gaelic-Norse aristocracy of the western seaboard, his part in Gaeldom&’s challenge to the Canmore kings of Scots, his war on the Manx king of the Isles, his importance for the church on Iona, and his extraordinary invasion of the Clyde, which was cut short by his violent death at Renfrew in 1164. Marsden also demonstrates how almost everything that is known of or has been claimed for Somerled reflects the same characteristic fusion of Norse and Celt that binds the cultural roots of Gaeldom. It is this recognition that has led Marsden to propose Somerled&’s wider historical importance as the personality who most represents the first fully-fledged emergence of the medieval Celtic-Scandinavian cultural province from which is directly descended the Gaelic Scotland of today.
By Vincent Orange. 2006
The acclaimed author of Dowding of Fighter Command details the life of one of the great strategic minds of the…Royal Air Force. Born in India into a family of soldiers and diplomats, John Slessor made the first aerial attack on a Zeppelin. He went on to serve in the Middle East over the Western Front in World War I, and postwar on the North-West Frontier in India. In the inter-war years, under the influence of Sir Hugh Trenchard, he became a devout proponent of strategic bombing and a strong advocate of the importance of air support for ground forces. Through his writing and teaching he gained a reputation as a deep thinker, and as Director of Plans in the Air Ministry from 1937, was closely concerned with rearmament. As World War II began, he became a major cog in the policy machine. Serving variously as Head of 5 Group Bomber Command (1941), with Portal throughout 1942 and at Casablanca in 1943, his high point came as Head of Coastal Command in 1943 with the defeat of the U-Boats, and then in August 1944 with the tragedy of the Warsaw uprising. Post-WWII, he continued to influence thinking as an ardent opponent of the Soviet Union. His Global Strategy Paper in 1952 was arguably the basis of all strategic thinking until the end of the Cold War. Vincent Orange was given full access to Slessor&’s diaries, letters, papers, and all relevant official documentation. As he shows us in this biography, although Slessor had numerous shortcomings, he was able to overcome these difficulties and rise to the top of his service.
By Tony Blackman. 2009
In this memoir, the author of Nimrod: Rise and Fall details his experience testing the UK&’s strategic bomber while flying…for Avro during the Cold War. In 2007, a restored Avro Vulcan Mark 2—XH558—took to the skies to help commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Falklands conflict. To coincide with this, the memoirs of one of its test pilots, Tony Blackman, was published to great acclaim. Tony flew no less than 105 of the 136 built, logging 850 flights at over 1,327 hours. His book describes in layman&’s terms what it was like to tame the first prototypes of the monumental delta-wing aircraft and to master the unusual characteristics necessitated by the Vulcan&’s shape. Although Tony puts the developments, demonstrations, incidents, and accidents in their political and historical context, his story is a highly personal one. He explains how this awesome aircraft became a national treasure and captured the imagination of the whole country. His words, descriptions, and photographs will make people feel as he did the excitement of handling such an incredibly powerful monster always in the knowledge that he had to be always in complete control of the monster as it could, and did, bite back.Praise for Vulcan Test Pilot&“Highly readable, keeping both the technical reader interested without perplexing the layman. A fine book for both.&” —Logbook &“Fascinating, gracefully written, and superbly knowledgeable.&” —Air and Space Magazine
By Mel Rolfe, Wallace McIntosh. 2003
The World War II exploits of the legendary RAF air gunner, &“a true hero who repeatedly cheated death,&” from the…author of Flying into Hell (The Times). Born into grinding poverty in Scotland, Wallace McIntosh had not heard of Christmas until he was seven, and never celebrated his birthday until his late teens, but he could steal, kill and skin a sheep before he was twelve and snare anything that could be cooked in a pot. Leaving school at thirteen he was determined to escape the constant struggle to survive. Gunning for the Enemy tells the moving story of how the RAF finally accepted McIntosh after at first rejecting him, but then initially gave him the lowliest of jobs. Only by a fluke was he trained as an air gunner. During his time with 207 Squadron, based at Langar, Nottinghamshire and Spilsby, Lincolnshire, he flew over fifty sorties in World War Two. Although Bomber Command did not record details of &“kills&” by air gunners, Wallace, who shot down eight enemy aircraft with one probable, is widely believed to be its top sharpshooter and at one time he was its most decorated also. He had many hairy incidents and his prodigious memory for detail enables him to recall numerous amazing escapes from death and how each and every night he and his comrades dramatically took the war to the enemy. This is a story of outstanding courage, told with wit, pace and honesty by Mel Rolfe who has previously enjoyed acclaim with such books as To Hell and Back, Hell on Earth and Flying into Hell.
By Norman Franks. 2019
A who&’s who of the British airmen honored for their valor and courage—from the RAF&’s inception to the post-WWII era—arranged…alphabetically. When the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service merged on 1 April 1918, to form the Royal Air Force, the new command needed to have its own gallantry medals to distinguish itself from the Army and the Royal Navy. Thus the new Distinguished Flying Cross came into being. By the end of WWI, only three Second Bars had been promulgated for First War actions. Before WWII erupted, four more Second Bars had been awarded, and fifty were added to this total by the conflict&’s end. Three more were awarded post-WWII, between 1952–1955, making a grand total of sixty. Still a significantly small number of members of this pretty exclusive &“club.&” Within the covers of this book recorded for the first time together are the mini-biographies of all those sixty along with the citations that accompanied their awards, or in some cases the recommendations for them. Also recorded are citations for other decorations such as the Distinguished Service Order, et al. As the reader will discover, the range of airmen who received the DFC and Two Bars, cover most of the ambit of WWII operations, be they fighter pilots, bomber pilots, night-fighter aircrew, aircrew navigators, engineers, etc., or reconnaissance pilots. Each has interesting stories, proving, if proof be needed, their gallantry in action.
By Ian Gleed. 2010
A Royal Air Force fighter pilot&’s action-packed memoir of his service before, during, and after the epic World War II…battle. Originally published during the war in 1942, this is the other side of the mirror from the philosophical flight record of authors such as Antoine de Saint Exupery. It is a literal, daily record of an English fighter pilot of 23 years fighting in the Battle of Britain, giving a truly authentic picture of life on a squadron in those times. Gleed details his first sortie in 1939, his breakdown not so long after, his return to the RAF and battles over France, his exploits in the Battle of Britain, becoming an ace, downing Messerschmitts, and eventually being awarded the DFC for his service as leader and fighter.Praise for Arise to Conquer&“An epic of the Battle of Britain.&” —The Sphere (UK)&“An excellent account of the daily life of a fighter squadron in the Battle of Britain… gives spirited descriptions of many air combats.&” —Flight
Second in the Aces High series—an updated military reference of the fighter pilots who had five or more confirmed victories…while serving in the RAF. This volume updates the information in the first volume and adds some new names. Information has been added on the pilots who gained success against the V-1 flying bombs during 1944-45. Detail is also provided on those units in which virtually all the fighter pilots served at some time or another—the fighter Operational Training Units—and of specialist units such as the Central Gunnery School, Fighter Leader&’s School and Fighter Experimental Units. There is also coverage of the only other conflicts in which British pilots have been able to claim victories since 1945—Korea and the Falklands Conflict. &“There are some authors whose name alone is sufficient reason to but a book, and Christopher Shores is surely one of these . . . By profession a chartered surveyor, he served in the Royal Air Force in the 1950s so his writing bears the stamp of authenticity.&” —HistoryNet
By Sean Feast. 2010
The wartime exploits and experiences of an RAF bomber pathfinder squadron are recounted in this WWII history—&“A stunning war book&”…(Oxford Times, UK). Formed in July 1942, the Pathfinder Force was the corps d&’élite of the Royal Air Force&’s Bomber Command. The Squadrons of the PFF were tasked with marking targets and leading bomber formations to the right place at the right time. And the best of the force formed the crews of the master bombers, the aircraft in charge of the whole attack. It took nerves of steel for the crew to linger high over the target area, often for hours, in constant fear of attack from fighters or flak. In Master Bombers, aviation historian Sean Feast shares the wartime stories of the men and women of No. 582 Squadron. This bomber pathfinder squadron was formed in April of 1944 and began operations with a night raid on Occupied France a week later. The aircrew and supporting staff of No. 582 distinguished themselves in numerous operations, with one pilot, Ted Swales, winning a posthumous Victoria Cross over Pforzheim.
By Frank Holland, Adam Wilkins. 2009
A World War II RAF veteran tells the dramatic story of D-Day, his survival after being shot down by the…Germans, and his journey back to Allied lines. The day after D-Day, the most momentous day of the Second World War, Frank Holland was an RAF pilot whose Typhoon aircraft had just been hit by German antiaircraft fire during a low flying attack on a marshaling yard in Normandy. He managed to take the aircraft up to 1200 feet but then the engine went dead and his Typhoon soon began heading towards the earth at an accelerating and frightening speed. Struggling frantically, he just barely got free of the cockpit and baled out four or five seconds before the crash. His parachute didn&’t open but he fell into a wood, crashing through the branches of an oak to dangle precariously fifteen feet up. Breathing hard, he experienced a few seconds of relief at survival. But then he realized German troops would be swarming around within minutes. He had to get away, and fast . . . So begins Frank&’s tremendous adventure as he evaded capture for months, sometimes by barely a whisker, to make it back home to the city of his birth, Cambridge. A riveting true story told in a masterly fashion.
This biography of the WWII flying ace recounts his legendary career in the RAF, his time as a POW and…his postwar life as a beloved public figure. One of the most famous fighter pilots of the Second World War, Basil Gerald &“Stapme&” Stapleton achieved flying ace status in the Battle of Britain and was immortalized in Richard Hillary&’s classic wartime memoir The Last Enemy. Born in Durban, South Africa, Stapleton joined the Royal Air Force in 1939 and flew Spitfires with 603 Squadron. His legendary escapades during the Battle of Britain account for nearly twenty enemy aircraft destroyed, probably destroyed or damaged. Stapleton later became flight commander of 257 Squadron and a gunnery instructor at RAF Kenley and Central Gunnery School, Catfoss. He returned to combat in 1944, flying Typhoons as commander of 247 Squadron. For his courageous combat during the Battle of Arnhem, he received the Dutch Flying Cross. In December of 1944, he was forced to land inside German lines and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner in Stalag Luft I on the Baltic coast. Nicknamed 'Stapme' after a phrase used in his favorite cartoon 'Just Jake', Stapleton was a larger-than-life character who became a beloved public figure in his postwar life. With his handlebar mustache and good-humored bravado, he became for many the quintessential ace fighter pilot. In this authoritative and intimate volume, Stapleton tells his full story to historian David Ross, author of the acclaimed biography Richard Hillary.
By Vincent Orange. 2008
An extensive biography of the life and distinguished military career of the Scottish air chief marshal. Making full use of…archival sources, studies by other scholars, and information provided by family members, Vincent Orange has completed the first biography of Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding to cover his entire life. Soldier, pilot, wireless pioneer, squadron commander, spiritualist, champion skier, &“Stuffy&” Dowding is perhaps best known as the creator of the first radar-based air defense system and his no less remarkable management of such throughout the Battle of Britain. Dowding served in &“delightful and dangerous Iraq,&” helped to pacify unrest in the Holy Land, was involved in the R.101 airship disaster, and oversaw the creation of Britain&’s first eight-gun monoplanes, the Hurricane and Spitfire. Controversially dismissed from Fighter Command and refused the R.A.F.&’s highest rank, he nevertheless became the first airman elevated to the peerage since Trenchard. Westminster Abbey was packed for his memorial service in March 1970 with more than 46 air marshals in attendance; and in 1988, H.M. the Queen Mother unveiled a statue in his honor. With his expert eye, respected historian Orange has analyzed and evaluated every episode of Dowding&’s exceptional career to produce the definitive biography.
By Sir Frederick Rosier, David Rosier. 2011
&“A very valuable autobiography of a senior RAF officer . . . provides an excellent insight into life in the RAF in…both war and peace.&” —From Balloons to Drones Towards the end of a long and distinguished career, Sir Fred Rosier was persuaded by his son David to write his autobiography. He did so and the result is an extremely engaging and enlightening account of his life to the end of the Second World War. Starting with his humble beginnings to his time as a prewar fighter pilot on 43 Squadron at Tangmere; seeing action in France with 229 Squadron where he was shot down and burnt; his return as CO of that squadron during the Battle of Britain; taking 229 to the Western Desert, becoming one of two Fighter Wing commanders there; and then being appointed Group Captain Ops in 84 Fighter Group for the invasion, on through Europe, to the demise of Germany. David Rosier and his mother then completed the story up to Sir Fred&’s final appointments in the RAF as the last C-in-C of Fighter Command in 1968 and Deputy C-in-C Allied Forces Central Europe in 1973. Sir Fred was an inveterate letter writer, extracts from many of which appear in the book, and with a superb collection of photographs, this long-overdue account will be welcomed by anyone interested in one of the RAF&’s major personalities.
By Sean Feast, Ted Stocker. 2009
The only RAF flight engineer to be awarded a Distinguished Service Order recounts his prolific WWII combat career in this…engaging military memoir. Flight Lieutenant Ted Stocker lived a charmed life. Joining the Royal Air Force as a teenager, he trained as one of the famous Halton Aircraft Apprentices known as Trenchard&’s Brats. Stationed at RAF Boscombe Down, he flew prototype Stirling and Halifax bombers just as the Second World War broke out. Qualifying as one of the RAF&’s first flight engineers, he went on to join Bomber Command&’s elite Pathfinder Force. Stocker was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1943 and eventually completed more than 100 bombing operations, often as a master bomber. Although his aircraft was frequently hit, and he survived a crash landing, Stocker was never wounded. His achievements were recognized with the only known Distinguished Service Order issued to a flight engineer. In this candid and fascinating memoir, co-written by acclaimed aviation historian Sean Feast, Stocker relates his incredible tale of singular courage and miraculous survival.
This WWII history shares the personal stories of frontline airmen from all sides of the conflict gathered through original interviews.…Aviation historian Steve Bond has spent years interviewing veterans of World War II. He recorded the stories of former airmen and crewmembers who shared the same pieces of sky at the same time. The project brought together British and German, German and Russian, British and Italian, American and German—sometimes literally. In Heroes All, Bond presents the stories of these veterans—some of whom are household names—with annotations and overviews providing historical context. This is not a book about the rights and wrongs of war, nor the strategies of the military commanders. It is about the experiences and feelings of those on the front line. This volume includes stories and recollections from veterans of the Air Transport Auxiliary, British Army, Fleet Air Arm, Italian air force, Luftwaffe, Royal Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force and Navy, Soviet air force, US Army, US Army Air Force, US Navy, and other groupings.
By Norman Franks, R W Foster. 2008
A memoir of the life and World War II service of Battle of Britain veteran, RAF fighter pilot Bob Foster.…Bob Foster's flying years began shortly before WWII, when he learned to fly with the RAFVR. Called up for war service in September 1939, he completed his training and was posted to 605 Squadron, equipped with Hawker Hurricanes. By early September 1940 he and his Squadron were in the thick of the air fighting over southern England, operating from Croydon. Surviving the Battle, he later became an instructor, but shortly after joining 54 Squadron, which had Spitfires, he and his unit were sent to Australia to defend the Darwin area from Japanese incursions. Awarded the DFC for his efforts, he returned to the UK and was given an assignment with a RAF public relations outfit, ending up in Normandy within three weeks of the invasion of 1944. Often serving right up in the front lines, Bob saw the war at very close hand, and then quite by chance became one of the first, if not the first, RAF officer to enter Paris with the liberating French army, and again, by chance, was in General de Gaulle's triumphant procession down the Champs-Élysées. His memoir is an entertaining collection of stories and reminiscences of two distinct areas of WWII, which also shows how luck often shaped the lives of the fighter pilots involved. Bob Foster later became a successful sales manager with Shell-Mex and BP, as well as serving with the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. He now lives with his wife Kaethe near Bexhill in East Sussex.
By Ken Rees, Karen Arrandale. 2004
A memoir of a World War II British bomber pilot who was imprisoned by the Nazis and went on to…inspire the Steve McQueen character in The Great Escape. By age 21, Ken had already trained to be a pilot officer, flown 56 hair-raising bomber missions by night over Germany, taken part in the siege of Malta, got married, been shot down into a remote Norwegian lake, been captured and interrogated, sent to Stalag Luft III, and survived the Great Escape and the forced March to Bremen. This is truly a real-life adventure story, written with accuracy, pace, and drama. &“Ken Rees had a war career that takes the breath away and he describes it so well one can imagine one was there, experiencing the terror.&” —Frederick Forsyth, #1 New York Times – bestselling author of The Fox and The Day of the Jackal &“In an age obsessed with C-list television celebrities battling it out on [phony] &“reality&” survival shows, Rees and his dwindling band of Great Escapers stand out as the real thing.&” —The Daily Telegraph (UK) &“Written in frank, warm and readable style, this is a very engaging account of a remarkable life.&” —New History &“A brave man&’s memory. Hear the fear yet take [succor] from the courage.&” —North Wales Chronicle (UK)
Veterans of the RAF&’s legendary Pathfinder Force share their personal accounts of WWII in this authoritative history by the author…of Master Bombers. During the Second World War, the Pathfinder Force was the corps d&’élite of Bomber Command. Literally leading the charge in the Royal Air Force&’s bombing raids over Nazi occupied territory, the aircrews of the PFF required top notch skills and nerves of steel. In Pathfinder Companion, aviation historian Sean Feast tells the remarkable stories of these brave men, drawing on extensive interviews with veterans as well as official records and archival documents.Pathfinder Companion highlights the raids and the losses, the successes and failures, the terror and the turmoil these men endured, as well as the inevitable humor in the face of tremendous adversity. Profusely illustrated throughout with photos and memorabilia, the book shows how a poorly equipped, disparate group was forged into one of the most effective fighting forces ever created.