Wales and the Air War 1914-1918

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - THE GUIDE -

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.

If you’d like to see your fam­ily his­tory prod­ucts cov­ered here, send them to the ad­dress on p3

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