With the huge number of histories of WWII, a truly unique book is extremely rare. This is one such book. The author has assembled a diary written by her late father, a collection of his photographs, and a collection of family letters, which she has woven into an enchanting book that tells a unique story – Most Highly Recommended.
NAME: Clipped Wings, Cpl Peter Walker's Illustrated Diary of his RAF Service in India & Burma 1942-1946 FILE: R2586 AUTHOR: Elizabeth Dent PUBLISHER: WritersWorld BINDING: hard back, soft back, eBook PAGES: 330 PRICE: £24.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, World War Two, World War 2, Second World War, Far East, India, Burma, 1942, 1946, Japan, aviation, ground crew, biplanes, obsolete warplanes, obsolescent warplanes. ISBN: 978-0-9955810-1-2 IMAGE: B2586.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/ya8aowm5 LINKS: DESCRIPTION: With the huge number of histories of WWII, a truly unique book is extremely rare. This is one such book. The author has assembled a diary written by her late father, a collection of his photographs, and a collection of family letters, which she has woven into an enchanting book that tells a unique story – Most Highly Recommended. This is a very welcome addition to our available knowledge of WWII, particularly of the conflict in the Far East. It reads very well and flows nicely with an original style that blends groups of information sources seamlessly. The backbone is a diary, written by the author's father. It is supported very well by a large selection of photographs taken by him. The result is that the illustration is almost totally unique to this book, just a few of the photographs having been provided by another author who was writing a history of 31 Squadron, “A Goldstar Century – 31 Squadron 1915-2015”. This means that serious aviation enthusiasts will want to own a copy for its rare information and illustration. It will also appeal to a very much wider readership because it tells a very human story with affection and provides a tribute to all of those who served in the 'Forgotten War'. The preoccupation with the exploits of pilots and aircrew frequently neglects the story of all of those who were vital team players, getting the aircraft ready for combat. Without their efforts there would have been no flying aces. When many thousands of young men volunteered to fight for the air forces involved, the overwhelming majority hoped to become dashing fighter pilots. Those who completed their training as pilots and were assigned to bombers, transports or maritime patrol aircraft often felt cheated. The most highly decorated German soldier of WWII was most disappointed to be assigned to fly Stukas. He was not considered a good pilot at the time and failed to impress his first commanding officer. Then he was sent on the invasion of the Soviet Union and discovered a great skill, particularly in killing tanks, but at heart he was still a frustrated fighter pilot. Many in his position never broke out in the way he did. Equally, a great many pilots were taken off flying duties because they were found to have a medical issue which had previously gone unnoticed. Some also qualified but arrived for posting at a time when there was a surplus of pilots but a great shortage of some other non- flying skill. For these airmen it must have come as a great disappointment, it usually denied them the path to senior rank, but it often increased their chances of survival. The subject of this book was demoted from pilot to mechanic because he was found to suffer from colour blindness. As his diary shows, he quickly adapted and served capably in his new task. His posting to India and Burma provides some unique insight into life there and the nature of the air forces available in that theatre. The author has included a section listing the aircraft he worked on, with brief descriptions. This is particularly helpful because there will be readers who have not previously come across some of the antique machines on which the RAF was forced to depend. In 1939, the RAF East of Suez was essentially a biplane air force. It was equipped with fighters, bombers and army cooperation aircraft that showed little advance on the machines the RAF inherited in 1918 from the RNAS and the RFC. They were open cockpit single and two seat machines with two or three rifle calibre machine guns, simple bomb aiming equipment and a very small bomb load. Radio communication was rare and there was no command and control system, even covering the Indian border. This situation was to continue after Japan attacked with up-to-date monoplane fighters and bombers. Britain was forced to reserve its best warplanes for the European War and to rotate older designs to the Mediterranean and then on to India and Burma. The ground crews had to work hard in primitive conditions to keep these obsolete and obsolescent aircraft flying. The pilots needed real skill to squeeze every once of ability from the machines when flying against modern Japanese aircraft and performed amazingly well. It was quite late in the war that the Far East eventually began to receive potent modern aircraft. Even then, the Hurricane, which had long become obsolescent in Europe continued to fly as a fighter and ground attack aircraft. After VE Day, quantities of the best aircraft were released from Europe and speeded the retreat and surrender of Japanese aircraft. The family letters provide so many details that readers may not be familiar with and one novelty may be the references of the subject sending food and clothing parcels home. In most WWII histories, it was family parcels going out to those fighting to make their life more comfortable. This is part of the unique environment for soldiers and airmen in India. Conditions could be very harsh and primitive at air stations and in the fighting, but India itself provided a huge range of conditions with much for the tourist back from the front, freedom from air attack and a plentiful supply of many things that had long since ceased to be available in rationed Britain. Readers are advised to look at the available formats for this book. Some distributors may carry all formats but prices will vary. Most books that are reviewed by the FIRE Project review team are supplied from large, well established publishers and that allows our reviewers some short cuts because many readers will today buy directly from the publishers' on-line bookshops. Therefore, we include all details for the review copy that we have received, knowing that the reader will see all of the other options and special offers for the reviewed title. In this case, the book has been produced very nicely by one of the established on-demand-printing publishers. Accordingly, we show, in the database detail, only the price as an rrp for the hard back edition. The hyperlink runs to Amazon Books UK, showing Amazon options and pricing. The book will however be available in good bookshops and via a variety of on-line distributors.