LAC. Wallace Jackson in North Africa and Italy with 70 Squadron, RAF, 1941-1944
 

Books

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Shadows of the Past by Paul Phillip Gaunt

 

 

'Shadows of the Past'
By Paul Phillip Gaunt 

"Tubby" Gaunt had a remarkable career during the duration of the Second World War.    His tours of duty encompassed Germany, Italy and the Balkans, a variety of aircraft types, roles of wireless operator, air gunner, pilot - and finally a crash landing and escape from enemy-occupied Yugoslavia.

Like many ex-servicemen, he did not speak about his experiences after the war and it was a chance discovery made by his son, Paul Gaunt, at the Moreton-in-Marsh Wellington Aviation Museum that led to several years of research, recorded in Paul's book: "Shadows of the Past". What emerges is a moving picture of individual experience in 49, 37 and, finally, 70 Squadrons.  

As well as recording the various sorties carried out by Tubby Gaunt in his various tours of duty, Paul Gaunt describes his personal journey of discovery into the wartime world of his father, visiting the site of the final crash landing in the snow in Yugoslavia, piecing together the story of the partisans who helped the crew of the crashed Wellington to escape to the coast and a rescue from the Royal Navy, all this against the crass brutality of life under Nazi occupation.    Tubby Gaunt had flown sorties delivering supplies to the partisans, now he was to experience at first hand exactly what that meant.

Book available from Paul Gaunt £11.00 + postage

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'Gardening by Moonlight'
By Peter KaööŠk and David Gunby 

 

"The product of research in British, Australian, South African, German, Hungarian and Slovak archives, "Gardening by Moonlight" is about one of the least known and most effective of the Royal Air Force's bombing campaigns of the Second World War.   Operating from a group of bases around Foggia, in Central Italy, the RAF's 205 Group mined the River Danube intensively between April and October 1944, radically curtailing the movement of Axis river shipping and at times halting it altogether.

The Wellington and Liberator crews had to sow their mines (hence the slang term "gardening") at low level on moonlit nights, running the gauntlet of night fighters, flak and balloon barrages.   Their courage, skill and sacrifice are celebrated in what is an important account of a virtually unknown aspect of the war in the air."

 

Obtainable from Lulu online bookshop

 

 

Portrait of a Bomber Pilot 

Christopher Jary

 

A new paperback 3rd edition of Portrait of a Bomber Pilot (first published in 1990) brings into personal focus the 55,000 young airmen whose deaths are commemorated by the new Bomber Command War Memorial in Green Park. It tells the story of Flight Lieutenant Jack Wetherly DFC, who flew two operational tours on Wellingtons and Halifaxes and was killed, near the end of his second tour, en route to Berlin. 

The author, the son of Jackís widow by her second marriage, would not have been born had Jack survived just a few more operations.  Brought up in the shadow of this tragedy, he wrote this tribute to Jack when he reached the age Jack was when he was killed.   The result is a personal book, which Group Captain Leonard Cheshire VC OM DSO DFC thought had an unusual haunting quality. 

From photographs, contemporary records and the first-hand testimony of Jackís friends, this biography pieces together his short, eventful life, tracing his career from pre-war weekend flying through the pioneering, early days of the bomber offensive, to Jackís spell as a flying instructor at RAF Cranwell and, finally, to his part in Air Marshal Harrisís main offensive. 

Dr John Sweetman (author of The Dambusters Raid) described Portrait of a Bomber Pilot as an intensely personal odyssey, with the reader as an unseen travelling companion.

Christopher Jary's account of the career of his step-father, Flight Lieutenant Jack Wetherly, DFC. 

Available on Amazon

All the Things You Are

The new book  from Ken Ballantyne, author of "Another Dawn, Another Dusk"

"All the Things You Are" is a collection of 12 true stories from people around Britain who lived through the WW2 years - nine women and three men.  

These are previously untold stories from people that Ken and his wife, Elaine, have met during the past two years whilst giving  talks to support the hospice and the Bomber Command Memorial Fund.  

The stories include the Home Front, the Women's' Land Army and Women's Timber Corps, WRNS, a WAAF, the Fire Service, a survivor of the Laconia, the Coventry Blitz and the battle for the bridge at Arnhem.

The book is priced at £9.99, 280 pages with 58 mono photographs and is available from bookshops throughout the country or direct from Ken at:

Laundry Cottage Books, Shawbirch Road, Admaston, Wellington, Shropshire. TF5 0AD.

website: http://www.laundrycottagebooks.co.uk/

Telephone: 01952 223931                  

Email: cenneach@westcoast13.wanadoo.co.uk

 

 

Wellingtons over the Med by Richard Stowers

A Kiwi (New Zealand) Bomber Pilot's Story from the Mediterranean.

NZ415793 Flying Officer Robert Ernest (Bob) Stowers DFM

Bob, at the age of just 21, was a Wellington bomber pilot with 70 RAF Squadron in the Mediterranean theatre during 1943. 

While with the squadron Bob flew 42 operations against heavily defended ports, railways, airfields and troop concentrations in North Africa and Italy. 

For his bravery and devotion to duty, Bob was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM).  Stuck in the desert with little to no contact with Britain, the airmen of Bob's squadron had to overcome the belief they were fighting a 'forgotten war'. The lack of coverage the Mediterranean theatre received in British media, which included the BBC news and the London dailies ≠ as opposed to what Bomber Command received ≠ caused many of the crews to feel that they were in a backwater. Even today many historians consider the Mediterranean theatre a lesser campaign.  

Recommendation for the Distinguished Flying Medal [with 70 RAF Squadron]: "This N.C.O. has carried out a most successful tour of operations comprising 41 night sorties amounting to 250.35 hours flying during which time he continually displayed a most praiseworthy determination, cool courage and devotion to duty in the face of the enemy. During the Tunisian campaign, he carried out a number of highly successful attacks on the enemy's heavily defended landing grounds and on the troops and transport concentrated in the battle area. During these attacks, often in adverse weather conditions, he showed great determination in seeking out, illuminating and bombing targets allotted to him. Throughout the Sicilian campaign which included attacks on the heavily defended ports of Messina, Palermo and Catania and during the blitzing of the Italian ports, railways communications and aerodromes, he showed the same undaunted spirit and cool courage, pressing home his attacks with great determination, no matter how stiff the opposition was from the enemy defences. From the very beginning of his tour, this N.C.O. has set a high standard and proved himself to be a steady and excellent operational Captain. I have no hesitation in recommending that his courage and devotion to duty be recognised by the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal (non-immediate)."

Wellingtons over the Med is authored by Bob Stowers' son, Richard, of Hamilton, New Zealand.   In his own words: 

"When I was a boy I found an old leather suitcase tucked in the rafters of the woolshed. It took me a while to realise the significance of the contents, but I established that my dad had been a bomber pilot in the war. To me he instantly became a real hero in a real war.  No combat role in the war was easy. Dad witnessed death at 10,000 feet and on the ground. He knew the emotions of combat and the toll it took on the human soul. Like any other bomber pilot, he felt happiness and relief when he sighted his home airfield after returning from combat.  

"Dad never talked much about his war experiences. There were bits here and there. But the war certainly defined him. Throughout his life he was known as a quiet, loving and modest man. Many believed he was a perfect gentleman.  One would struggle to think he was once a bomber pilot."

Wellingtons over the Med gives a full and accurate description of each of Bob's 42 operations, as well as airfield life in the North African desert.  Bob recalled, "Night-time bombing brought its own pressures without the added pressures of desert living. Most of those on flying duties kept to themselves. We didnĻt want to get too close to other crews because we might not see them again. The daily routine and squalor dragged on ≠ eat, sleep, drink and ops." 

Wellingtons over the Med has over 110 excellent photographs ≠ most of them previously unpublished, plus two maps. The book is a must for any Second World War air combat buff.

Now available online in the UK from  Amazon

NZ$40 plus packaging and postage from:

Richard Stowers

345 River Road

Claudelands

Hamilton 3214

NEW ZEALAND

Phone: +64 7 8556771

Mobile: +64 21 969697

Email: rstowers@xtra.co.nz

 

Richard Stowers' Website

 

ĎSpecial Ops Liberatorsí  Published†by Grub Street , available from 19/10/11

ISBN†9781908117144

Hardback

£20.00†

The work of the RAFís 100 Group remains one of the least known aspects of the 1939-45 war. Even less has been written about the specifics of day-to-day electronic warface operations and the countermeasures employed. 

This book, the result of many years meticulous research by Squadron Leader Richard Forder RAF (Retíd) redresses the balance by focussing on one the heavy units, 223, and its sister units at RAF Oulton, Norfolk. 

Equipped with former USAAF Liberators, they operated from August 1944 to the end of the European war, with a primary role of protecting Bomber Command Main Force ops by radio and radar countermeasures against German defences. 

By analysing original documents and recording first hand accounts from both sides of the conflict, including those of Main Force personnel, Forder and Bond present a complete, detailed and valuable picture of the secret and vital activities of the special operatives, and their effect on German defences.

 

 

 

Another Dawn Another Dusk

The true story of Trevor Bowyer, DFC, ISM, a veteran rear gunner in RAF Bomber Command in WW2

'ďDive port, go,Ē Ö I looked up to see the immense ghostly black silhouette of another Lancaster slide gently by barely fifty feet above us, its great yawning bomb bay doors gaping wide, the engine exhausts glowing in the dark...í

"This vividly powerful and absorbing biography of an RAF rear gunner during World War Two is told with both sensitivity and humour.

With accounts from some of Trevorís contemporaries, including Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Sir Michael Beetham, himself a WW2 bomber pilot and survivor of the ill-fated Nuremburg raid, this latest book by Kenneth Ballantyne, meticulously researched, lavishly illustrated and written in his now familiar easy style, is enthralling from start to finish. 

Born in Shropshire, Trevorís story embraces his childhood and early career on the TPO.    Living through the London Blitz, he volunteered for Bomber Command aircrew. Sent on the first 1,000 bomber raids, he later cheated death when his turret was riddled by cannon fire.

Shot down over the North African desert, for three days he walked back through enemy lines.

A second tour followed in Lancasters, flying from Lincolnshire into the heavily defended German heartland, where night fighters relentlessly stalked the bomber stream every mile across occupied Europe."  - back cover   

Another Dawn Another Dusk can be ordered from Ken Ballantyne at:

Laundry Cottage Books, Shawbirch Road, Admaston, Wellington, Shropshire. TF5 0AD.

website: http://www.laundrycottagebooks.co.uk/

Telephone: 01952 223931                  

Email: cenneach@westcoast13.wanadoo.co.uk

Price £9.99  p+p - free in the UK [signed copy] - 336 pages, 137 b&w pictures

ISBN 978-0-9550601-3-7 

 

     

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