From Battle of Britain Airman to PoW Escapee, The Story of Ian Walker RAF

This is an affectionate story of an inspiring father by a loving 
daughter. It is a very interesting and moving account. Very Highly 


NAME: From Battle of Britain Airman to PoW Escapee, The Story of  
Ian Walker RAF
FILE: R2430
AUTHOR:  Angela Walker
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES:  227
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, Second World War, World War Two, World War 2, 
aviation, Bomber Command, Fighter Command, PoW, escapes
ISBN: 1-47389-072-1
IMAGE: B2430.jpg
LINKS: Current Discount Offers 
DESCRIPTION: This is an affectionate story of an inspiring father 
by a loving daughter. It is a very interesting and moving account. 
Very Highly Recommended.

With so many stories of the air war during WWII, it seems that 
there is no new material to be published, other than a familiar 
story told from a different perspectives. Here is a story with 
some similarities but a number of very different elements that 
make this one of the rare books published 70+ years on that are 
importantly different.

Ian Walker was a champion cyclist before WWII. A New Zealander, 
he joined that band of Commonwealth citizens who flocked to the 
colours from 1939. To have his recollections sensitively edited 
and presented by his daughter is in itself important because so 
many recollections from other veterans have never been published. 
Each new publication, often rediscovered diaries found by children 
or grand children, adds to the pool of knowledge and reinforces or 
enhances what has previously been published by others.

In this new book, there are also some significant new elements that 
have not appeared in other autobiographies or edited recollections.

Angela Walker starts by recounting how she first became aware of 
her father's war experiences. She continues by giving the story of 
his life before war and the links between his generation going off 
to another far off war, and the fathers and uncles who had served 
in the previous war with Germany.

Ian Walker joined the RAF and served through the Battle of Britain. 
A newly promoted Sergeant Air Gunner he was posted, with the 
legendary military humour to a Spitfire Squadron. That may sound 
comic, but it was indicative of the way the RAF was having to adapt 
rapidly to so many conflicting demands. A trained air gunner was a 
valuable asset who could be assigned to multi-engine aircraft that 
served in a fighter role, particularly night fighters, or to the 
obsolescent Defiant single-engine heavy fighters with all their four 
guns in a power turret behind the pilot. Walker was perhaps fortunate 
to escape a posting to one of these squadrons where the unsuitable 
aircraft suffered heavy losses in return for limited success, being 
rapidly moved to second line service. At that point in the war there 
were more air gunners than could be used, and far fewer pilots than 
were required. The result was that air gunners were often posted to 
other jobs in support of the hard pressed fighter squadrons on 
southern airfields that were under heavy German attack.

The book provides many snapshots of the often opposed experiences, 
under heavy bombing one day and then taking the tourist trail, 
almost as though in peacetime. There are many charming recollections 
of life and comrades. Together this combines into a very valuable 
account of life in war.

Walker then moved to bomber command and the Wellington bomber which 
was a remarkable and dependable machine that was the backbone of 
Bomber Command until the arrival of the four engine heavy bombers. 
The Wellington was of unique construction , able to absorb enormous 
punishment and still find its way home. It typically enjoyed three 
power operated turrets, nose and mid-upper with two rifle caliber 
machine guns each and a four gun tail turret. These were augmented 
by a single hand operated waist gun on each side. After the Hampdens 
and other single and twin engine machines, this was a heavy armament 
but the German fighters were equipped with 20 mm canon and the anti-
aircraft artillery ranged from multiple 20 mm canon to heavy guns of 
88 mm and 120 mm that could throw up a dense box barrage to high 
altitude. Against these defences, heavy casualties were to be expected.

Walker survived three plane crashes. On the last, he was captured and 
imprisoned. He escaped but was recaptured and then was placed on a 
list to be exchanged for German prisoners. These exchanges have 
received very little publicity.

Angela was clearly inspired by her father and was to win a Commonwealth 
Gold. This is part of a warm and affectionate story that not only 
covers Walker's experiences from peace to war and back to peace, but 
provides glimpses of the man and his family in a rounded account. 
Great story.