This is an affectionate story of an inspiring father by a loving daughter. It is a very interesting and moving account. Very Highly Recommended.
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 BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/z2coetk LINKS: Current Discount Offers http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/sale 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.