This is an interesting book that may prove hard going not because of
the author's style but because of the relentless process to uncover
crime and the grim nature of the events on the ground and the crime
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NAME: Flightpath To Murder, Death of a Pilot Officer CLASSIFICATION: Book Reviews FILE: R1560 DATE: 061009 AUTHOR: Steve Darlow PUBLISHER: Haynes BINDING: Hard back PAGES: 274 PRICE: GB £19.99 GENRE: Non fiction SUBJECT: ISBN: 979-1-84425-541-2 IMAGE: B1560.jpg LINKS: http://tinyurl.com/ DESCRIPTION: This is an interesting book that may prove hard going not because of the author's style but because of the relentless process to uncover crime and the grim nature of the events on the ground and the crime itself. Although the general subject is World War Two aviation and the publisher has listed the title accordingly, this is a book that will also appeal to those interested in crime and forensic investigation. As book shops will probably bury copies away in the aviation or war shelves, some of those who would find the book particularly interesting and useful may stumble on it by accident and this is always the difficulty with books that do not fit into the expectations of bookshops. The author has researched his subject very well and presented the story in an engaging manner. There is a black and white photographic plate section to illustrate the story. The images some especially evocative are of good quality and reproduced clearly on gloss paper. Generally the air war in Europe between 1939 and 1945 was remarkably free of war crimes against aircrew. Even when a pilot force landed or parachuted down close to a gun battery with which he had been engaging fire, he was taken prisoner and treated according to the conventions of war. The situation may have been less civilized on the Eastern Front where German and Russian soldiers did beat up or kill downed pilots with some frequency, and in the Far East, the Japanese frequently tortured and killed downed aircrew, or treated them barbarically in POW camps. Against this background the killing of RAAF strike fighter pilot Bill Maloney is a sad and rare exception to the treatment of a downed pilot. The author sets out the background of the pilot and the details of his last flight. Beyond that, the story is essentially an account of how the murder was investigated some ten months after the event as part of the process of bringing war criminals to account. It brings into focus the attitudes of those on the receiving end of airpower. By 1944 the Allied Air Forces held air superiority and could fly almost at will. The German defending pilots continued a spirited defence of the Fatherland but numbers and resources were against them. As a result Typhoon pilots like Bill Maloney could range across the battlefield ahead of advancing troops and provide detailed close support using canon and rockets with devastating effect. The tale is a reminder that one nation's hero pilot may be another nation's terror flyer.