War on the Wheels

War on the Wheels
The story of the people

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Fighter Boys - The Battle of Britain, 1940 - Patrick Bishop

Why read a book such as this, unless you are flying mad? Well, it's not about flying. There are many flying scenes and the course of the battle is mapped in impeccable detail. The book is about young men and women caught up in a maelstrom.
It is clear from a variety of sources that Hitler both expected a peaceful relationship with Great Britain and wished for one. It was with this in mind that he pressed his attack against the RAF; if it collapsed there would be no need for an invasion. Bishop makes it clear that Hitler's big mistake was switching the battle away from the aerodromes to the civilian population. This was in retaliation for Churchill's decision to bomb Berlin, in turn in retaliation for bombs dropped on London in terrible error. It gave the RAF vital space to draw breath and to be effective in its destruction of the day bombing raids.
The book though is about people. Bishop paints a an utterly human picture with extracts from letters and diaries and interviews with survivors. He traces the shift of mood from almost schoolboy joy at flying, through a conscious light hearted approach to daily event of death, to the raw pain of hate, loss, injury and love.
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