The Battle of Britain, from up high

Patrick Bishop’s Fighter Boys is a thorough history of the young fighter pilots who saved Britain during the Summer of 1940, at enormous personal cost. The book covers strategy, tactics, organization, individual dogfights as well as the aftermath of Fighter Command.
As a child, I read my father’s collection of Biggles books, and learned the difference between Hurricanes, Spitfires and Mosquitos, as children tend to do. This book gives the real story – and one of the things it taught me is that in the Biggles stories about the Battle of Britain, Captain W. E. Johns was authentic. The battle was fought by young men who saw it as a game, responding to the danger and the horrible injuries (primarily from burns, creating members of the Guinea Pig Club) with understated humour, but suffering badly in silence.

Advertisements