A Spitfire Pilot's Story - Wine, Women and Song - Hamish Brown
Wine, Women and Song
A Spitfire Pilot's Story
368 pages, 9781781550359, MSRP $39.95, hardback, Fonthill Media
This frank account of New Zealand Spitfire pilot Doug Brown traces his training and action experienced in the RAF, and social activities during the war. After 'signing up' with the Air Force, basic training took place at Levin, followed by initial training on Tiger Moths at Whenuapai. On 30 April 1941 over 200 New Zealand and Australian trainee observers, pilots and wireless operators began their great adventure on board the Awatea bound for Vancouver. Training in Canada provided in single engine Harvards enabled these young pilots to graduate with their wings. This group was destined for Bournemouth via Halifax and Iceland to eagerly await their fates. Would they be assigned to bombers or fighters, or elsewhere in the RAF? In these few years many friendships were made and many close friends were lost. Some never got to the front line as they were killed in training accidents, while others suffered from equipment failure, and many more 'bought it' at the hands of the enemy. None would deny the effect the intensive active service would have on the mental and physical state of pilots and all servicemen. Boys quickly became men and survivors would claim they were the best years of their lives. After the war some would find security in the Air Force and make it a profession. The majority continued life post-war in what had been their training pre-war. A few ended the war worn out and exhausted and never settled back into civilian life.