Wales and the Air War 1914-1918
by Alan Phillips (Amberley Books, 96 pages, £9.99) Wales and the Air War provides an historic account of the exploits of the squadrons based on five Welsh airbases in the First World War. Whether it was defending the British coast from submarine attack, or embarking on long aircraft patrols, this new form of warfare played an instrumental role in victory. From tragedies to training, this text covers every aspect of the wartime experience for these pilots. This memoir is based on one plucky serviceman’s experience of war from 1938 until 1942, in two major aerial operations, the Battle of Britain and the Siege of Malta. Aged just 19 at his first posting, within a year Pilot Officer Tom Neil had shot down 13 enemy aircraft and seen many of his friends killed, injured or burned in combat. Now 95, he is one of only 25 Battle of Britain veterans still alive and able to tell their tumultuous tale. In another Battle of Britain-related title, veteran aviation historian Dilip Sarkar does a fine job in bringing us new interviews with the last surviving pilots of the momentous conflict, now dubbed ‘The Final Few’. Sarkar has spent a lifetime recording the stories of casualties and survivors and his empathy for his interviewees clearly shines through in what is likely to be the last overview of its kind as the numbers of pilots dwindle.
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